Steam in the Ukrainian Carpathians

Ukraine 17.02. - 25.02.2007

L 3535 and Er 797-86 near Wilin

Ukraine is a spectacular place for watching and photographic steam locomotives in a beautiful wintry landscape. This is a wonderful opportunity to broaden your railway travel experiences and add to your collections of photos and videos in a country that is changing very rapidly. We will see big mainline steam power at its best and some charming narrow gauge and branch line operations as well.

Ukraine is the largest country of Europe. Ever since the new government took over, economic development has changed dramatically. Inevitably, the railway, with its huge deficit, will be affected in the near future. Lines will be closed, passenger trains will be cancelled and some staff will be dismissed. The narrow gauge lines seem to have no chance of survival for very much longer. Before it is too late, we want to offer a trip to a wide variety of lines with different steam locomotives hauling chartered freight trains. From the many possible locations we picked the most scenic parts of the Carpathian Mountains in the south-western corner of the country.

We have decided to visit Ukraine in the last weeks of winter. This will offer the possibility of real winter steam in the mountains as well as days that are long enough to have sufficient time for photography and video filming.

We have ordered the following steam locomotives, which represent some of classic Soviet-era steam power: SU (2-6-2), Em (0-10-0), Er, (0-10-0), L, (2-10-0), SO17 (2-10-0), "Soft sign" (0-4-0 Tank) and GR (0-8-0, 750 mm). This is an exciting range of locomotives that will provide many great photo opportunities and a lot of variety. Many of these locomotives were widely used in the Soviet block so it is an excellent chance to see engines that once ran in many parts of the Soviet Union. Locomotives class Ea (0-10-0), FD20 (2-10-2) are not serviceable any more.






Meeting in Budapest-Keleti pu station at 17 hrs. Overnight train D628, departure 18.20 hrs from Budapest-Keleti pu.


Arrival 7.38 hrs in Stryi, 7.50 hrs charter freight train with class SU from Stryj to Ivano-Frankovsk chimney first, turning the locomotive in the depot and return with our charter freight over the most scenic part of the line from Ivano-Frankovsk to Kalush chimney first in the afternoon. As the loco has to return to Ivano-Frankovsk we'll travel with our loco and an attached passenger coach tender first to Ivano-Frankovsk, hotel Kolomyja


Charter freight train with a locomotive class Er from Kolomyja to Zalishziki and back with class SO. Beside different diesel railcars, Kolomyja hosts several steam locomotives. We’ll arrange a night parade of the steam locos in front of the photogenic roundhouse including class "soft sign". Hotel in Kolomyja


Early morning by train to Deljatin (up to Deljatin diesel will assist). The most scenic line in our program, the line from Deljatin to Rachow will be managed by a double header: the classes Em and Er will haul our freight train, hotel in Rachov


Charter freight train with two steam locos, classes L and SO from Rachov to Deljatin, hotel in Deljatin


As the mountain line offers so many exciting photo and video opportunities, we have ordered another steam freight today: charter freight train from Deljatin to Rachov with class SO, hotel in Rachov


Another time we’ll cross the mountains. Charter freight with locomotive class L from Rachov to Deljatin, evening charter bus transfer to Beregovo, hotel Beregovo


Narrow gauge steam from Beregoveo to Irshava with class GR, afternoon bus transfer to Chop, crossing the border to Hungary aboard train 6215, departure 18.00 from Chop, arrival Nyiregyhaza 18.46 hrs, hotel Nyiregyhaza


Departure Nyiregyhaza 07.10 hrs to Budapest-Keleti pu, arrival 10.17 hrs. individual continue home by train or air (air tickets can be booked by FarRail Tours, please enquire)


Our special trains

Due to modernization and making the trains visibly Ukrainian instead of Russian there are no green coaches available in the whole country that are allowed to operate over state railway lines. A loan from Russia or Moldavia was refused because of too much paperwork, our Ukrainian partner said. We reduced the use of passenger coaches to zero and offer more authentic freight trains. We expect to have an "emergency" diesel loco and one passenger coach for our group at the end of our train. We'll drop this diesel loco and the passenger coach as far as it is necessary to get it out of sight and sound (for videographers) for our runpasts.

All runpasts are organised so that still photographers as well as video filmmakers will get good results. If requires we'll repeat runpasts.

Our lines are mostly scenic lines in the areas around or in the Carpathian Mountains. One of the most spectacular line in the Ukraine is the part from Deljatin to Rachow: narrow valleys, high viaducts, tunnels and nice villages will form the backdrops for our train. From Rachow to Kolomeja the line leads through the mountains as well and offers plenty of very scenic photographic opportunities. On the non-electrified lines there a many good positions possible for both, stills and video. Our train compositions will be changed every day. Although we ordered the oldest available wagons there will be hardly any non-boogie wagons. Even in the days of steam the railways nearly always used semi-modern, large freight cars with boogies.

Iwano-Frankowsk, the former Stanislau, is well known to students of locomotive history. It was an important place for the railways in the last century because of the large workshop for steam locomotives. The workshop is still in place, but their only use these days is to overhaul small diesel locomotives.

On the section Beregowo - Chmelnik there is no public traffic any more, so we'll have plenty of time for several nice runpasts. This section survived only because of it's the connection to the narrow gauge depot in Beregowo.

We are not able to guarantee the use of specific locomotives, although we have been assured they will run by our Ukrainian partners.

Near Waronenka



Ukraine is the largest European country. For several years the economic situation has been improving rapidly. Anyhow, some of the areas we'll visit still look untouched by modern developments. The railway is changing its shape quickly. Several interesting diesel and electric classes of locomotives have already disappeared, further electrification is going ahead and stations as well as the rolling stock are going to be modernised. Many branch lines, which are operating at a loss to the railway, will be closed in the nearest future. So it seems to be high noon for arranging a visit to the Ukraine.

A positive aspect of the modernisation is that many lines nowadays allow a higher speed than several years ago. So we'll be able to manage longer distances within one day than ever before. This will give us the opportunity to see more of the railway as well as taking more pictures of our trains.

We have booked medium class hotels. In rural areas these may be rather modest, but in small cities you haven't any other choice. Anyhow, our Ukrainian partner assured us that the hotels are well heated and will have a hot shower as well as private facilities.

Crime is not as big a problem as you might think from various reports in the western press and broadcasts. If you follow the normal rules for travelling around, you have nothing to fear. Change money in authorised offices ("Obmen Valut"), do not visibly show your valuables, and avoid certain sectors of large cities by night. Of course, your passport should be carried on your person, don't leave it in your case, and be sure not to leave anything without someone watching it, at places like restaurants if you're going to the restroom.

We'll have a person on the tour who can serve as a medical first aid attendant if necessary. If you need special medication you should carry a sufficient supply with you.

The Ukrainian cuisine is very tasty and offers a large variety of dishes. The only problem might be the coffee, which is mostly instant coffee (Nestlé). You can always bring some special coffee with you. From the experience of other groups we have to let you to know that our partner in the Ukraine sometimes do not pay much attention to the food. So bring some bars of müsli, chocolate or nuts with you, just to be prepared.

For many nationalities there is no need to obtain a visa any more. But, these regulations can be changed without advance notice. You have to carry a valid passport with you (and it should not expire within six months after leaving the Ukraine).

Booking deadline is November 12th, 2006

If the tour is confirmed, you may book later if there are still seats available.



Steam in the Ukrainian Carpathians from 14 participants £1,240
 17.02. - 25.02.2007 Single room supplement £150

Single rooms are not available in trains.

Minimum number of participants: 14
Maximum number of participants: 40

We’ll share our special train with another group railway enthusiasts (all dedicated photographers and video film makers).

The price includes:

Not included are:

Letzte Chance für die öffentlichen Schmalspurbahnen der Ukraine?


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