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Since I don’t recall any other notes on rail travel in Bosnia, I thought that it might be of interest if I posted the rail/tram photos from two weeks that we have recently spent in Sarajevo, Travnik,  Jajce and Mostar.  Bosnia may seem a little off the beaten track but I predict confidently that it will soon be on the “must see” list. Think Switzerland, but cheaper, much poorer and with minarets. It is also a very powerful reminder of the 70 years of peace that my generation has enjoyed and the dangers of xenophobia and nationalism, which destroyed a civilised European country. Every town in which we stopped had a war memorial (or two) with a lengthy list of names, and almost every village had houses that were still derelict and/or burnt out, where former owners had not returned to claim them. The ceasefire was in 1995, 24 years ago, and (for those of us of a certain age) it is difficult not to compare how the UK had recovered from WW2 by 1970 – psychologically, economically and culturally.  
Back to railways.  As a very brief summary, Austro-Hungary  took over government of Bosnia Herzogovina from the Ottoman empire in 1878 (Congress of Berlin). Most of the railways date from after that date and were constructed to consolidate the authority of the new government. Given the alpine terrain, the new lines were constructed to 760mm gauge (also known as Bosnian gauge), although in later years, those that were economically viable were broadened to standard gauge. Nothing remains in Bosnia of the narrow gauge, although I understand that a section, known as the Sargan 8,  is being reopened as a tourist attraction over the border in Serbia.
http://www.penmorfa.com/JZ/hdahlhaus5.html
Sarajevo to Mostar
Trams
Sarajevo has a single tram route that runs along the bottom of the valley in which the town lies. Corporate livery is not a concern, as the photos show. My particular favourites were a rather careworn orange one, which seemed to be largely held together by paint, and a 2 car unit – one half red and one half blue, but both carrying the same logos so evidently deliberate. Tram enthusiasts may be able to spot the origins of the four that are illustrated which all seem to be different. 

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Stations
https://de.depositphotos.com/39243751/stock-photo-the-old-train-station-in.html
https://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnabahn
Sarajevo station (and indeed Mostar) are severely utilitarian and lack charm. However, Sarjevo featured a small, plinthed narrow gauge shunter. I have seen one source which suggests that it came from Orenstein and Koppel shortly after WW1.
The station also featured a lot of “no photography” signs, which may have been relics of an earlier era as nobody seemed interested in enforcing them.

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Journey to Mostar

The trip down from Sarajevo to Mostar is almost certainly quicker by coach. But Bosnian railways have just invested in some Talgo sets which provide for a very comfortable ride. Speeds are modest – 50 kph up hill and 70 kph down, but the views are spectacular. Between Sarajevo and Mostar you cross the watershed between the Miljacka, which ends up in the Danube and the Neretva which ends up in the Adriatic. The climate changes and the engineering to climb up and down through the mountains is spectacular. The zig zag near Konjic provided a couple of places where you could see the railway at three different levels. Unfortunately, tree growth along the line means that views are fleeting and hard to photograph.
We crossed a couple of  longish trains of open wagons (coal?) along the way, but I did not notice any obvious signalling. I wonder if the system operates on something like a train order system? With 11 passenger trains a day at Sarajevo, plus whatever freight, I imagine that this would be manageable. 

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Jablanica

On the return journey (by coach) we stopped off at Jablanica, which was the site of a major battle between Tito's Partisans and the Axis forces. I had not appreciated that the Partisans did not just operate on a hit and run basis, but captured and held ground from the invading forces. One of the key moments in the battle of Neretva involved blowing up the railway bridge at Jablanica and this is celebrated by the plinthed loco and wagons, the remains of the bridge and a museum.    
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Case_White
During WW2, the line would still have been narrow gauge and the route was significantly improved when the gauge was widened. The plinthed loco is the narrow gauge, outside framed, Prairie 73 018, which is rather an interesting design. It was built by MAVAG in 1913 with 23 going to Bosnia. It was superheated and had Krauss-Helmholtz axles both leading and trailing. The centre driving wheels were flangeless, according to one source, so that the whole running gear must have been very flexible. It has been "cosmetically restored" quite nicely. The link below gives a good description of the line (but in German), showing where the original route ran, complete with a rack section. 
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narentabahn

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Travnik – Jajce
Our other expedition from Sarjevo was northward to Travnik and Jajce. Both of these towns had been on the Bosnian gauge network, but the system was closed in the 1970s(?) and not broadened. We followed the trackbed for quite a lot of the way (not difficult as the route is largely determined by some pretty large mountains) and even had our driver playing “spot the railway” (there were moments when it might have been better if he had been looking at the road). 
This bridge was probably last used about 50 years ago! 

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At Travnik, we managed to identify the bus station as having been the former railway station, with the a “new” road, that crossed the grain of the old streets, suggesting where the track had been.
There was also a plinthed loco outside the local museum, which turned out to be another rather unusual type. The line on to Jajce had a section of rack and the preserved loco was one of the 0-6-4 rack locos with four cylinders: two for adhesion and two for rack. It was also a “stutztender lok”, meaning that the tender was  a sort of  to semi-trailer, the front of which added adhesive weight to the rear of the  loco – a system that I have tried to reproduce on a 2-2-2 model!

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At Jajce, the station was long gone (although I suspect that it may also have been repurposed into a bus station), but, again, there was a small plinthed loco. This one seems to have been a works shunter at one of the local industries but has been preserved as the only loco to have operated in the Bihac Free State – under Partisan control in WW2.

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Jajce was a junction between the Steinbeisbahn and the Bosnian State Railway from Donji Vakuf. Details (in German) are in the links below.
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bahnstrecke_Lašva–Donji_Vakuf–Jajce/Bugojno
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steinbeisbahn
Our visit coincided with the 24th anniversary of the liberation of Jajce from the Serbs. There was a parade in the morning by Croatian veterans, who had recaptured the town for Bosnia and an apparently quite separate celebration in the afternoon by the locals, once the veterans had gone home. It takes a little thinking about to understand that in Sarajevo, the siege of Bosniaks was conducted by the Serbs, while in Mostar, the Bosniaks were beseiged by the Croats. The more you read, the more complex it becomes.
Finally, Sarajevo had a second station at Bistrik on the Ostbahn. It was quite convenient for the town centre - just 300ft above it! Trains from the main station covered 7.5kms in a loop to get to Bistrik, climbing hard for much of the way.     
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnische_Ostbahn#/media/Datei:Bistrik.jpg
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnische_Ostbahn
As the links suggest, much that is recorded of the Bosnian narrow gauge network has been done by German speakers - not entirely surprisingly given the close links with Austria. However, as a modelling project, it would be fascinating - Engerth locos, Stutztenderloks,  Klose designs with flexible length coupling rods, Mallets, rack locos and incredible engineering. The mind boggles. 
For those who are still hanging in there, further photos and information (mostly in English) are at http://www.penmorfa.com/JZ/index.htm
Finally, just in case anyone is interested, the theme of the trip to Saxony some years ago was Apfelstrudel. Here it was the baklava which are fantastic! 
Best wishes 
Eric 

 

Edited by burgundy
Edited to include a photo that had got lost.
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Some interesting pictures, Eric and an excellent account of your travels. As you say, the history is quite complex and there is often more to it than we are led to believe in our “standard” accounts.

 

Just to add that the 760mm gauge 0-6-0T at Sarajevo is former JZ 71-022, which is indeed an Orenstein & Koppel, works number 10177 of 1922.

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The JZ (and predecessors) narrow gauge was stuffed full of oddities - in amongst the hagans, rack mallets, and klose designs the one that stands out to me were a class of compound 2-4-2 tender locos with both drivers flangeless (but very wide treads), kept on the track by the front/rear axles having a klose steering mechanism, inside cylinders with outside valve gear...

One made it into the 60s, most of the rest went in the 50s. Reputedly the fastest 2'6" locos in the world when built.

 

file.php?id=8392

 

Keith chester has written a couple of books on the system.

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In the early hours of an August dawn in 1966, we had camped on the roadside between Mostar and Sarajevo, and woke to the sound of a narrow-gauge steam loco working hard on the other side of the deep gorge. My Instamatic failed to capture anything of worth, sadly. 

 

Even sadder was the fact that dinner the previous night, in the Turkish quarter of Mostar, had included something that upset my system in spectacular fashion, meaning I missed the Princip museum in Sarajevo, because I was spending a lot of time on a squat loo.

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On 22/09/2019 at 23:49, brack said:

The JZ (and predecessors) narrow gauge was stuffed full of oddities - in amongst the hagans, rack mallets, and klose designs the one that stands out to me were a class of compound 2-4-2 tender locos with both drivers flangeless (but very wide treads), kept on the track by the front/rear axles having a klose steering mechanism, inside cylinders with outside valve gear...

One made it into the 60s, most of the rest went in the 50s. Reputedly the fastest 2'6" locos in the world when built.

 

file.php?id=8392

 

Keith chester has written a couple of books on the system.

Keith Chester's 2008 book 'The Narrow Gauge Railways of Bosnia Hercegovina' (ISBN 91-7266-166-6) and the 2010 sequel 'Bosnia Hercegovina Narrow Gauge Album' (iSBN 978-91-7266-176-9) are the definitive English language works on the Bosnian NG. Both volumes were published by Stenvalls.

Bill

Edited by Bill Jamieson
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