By Steam Freight through Serbia & The Very Last Kriegsloks in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Steam in Serbia 16.10.2011 - 23.10.2011

Steam in Bosnia-Herzegovina: 22.10.2011 - 30.10.2011

33 504 in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Our sold out tours to Serbia and Bosnia in 2009 and 2010 unveiled alarming news and confirmed long known fears: non-tourist steam activities are fading out in Europe. Less than half a dozen regularly used steam locomotives remain in Europe! In Serbia steam is history already. Everything we’ll see here will be arranged and chartered. In Bosnia-Herzegovina we need to add some steam charters as well to make this event worthwhile. Our focus lays on the Kriegslok class 33 (German class 52) because in Tuzla, the last stronghold of the class, plans to buy diesels to replace the Kriegsloks remain on management desks. In Banovici they have already purchased a diesel and we need to charter a standard gauge steam loco to recall the good old times.

The landscape in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina is beautifully hilly and mountainous. In Serbia we’ll run charter trains on some of the most spectacular lines with numerous tunnels, bridges and gorges. These are the charter trains you’ll experience on this tour:

Sargan Eight near Mokra Gora © James Waite

This firework of charter trains has its price, of course. In Bosnia the price is close to being ridiculous, we know. But now, where things remain possible for the last time, it’s high noon to use all remaining opportunities right now. In less than two years time a similar tour will be impossible, it cannot be repeated. 33 087 in Serbia will only be under steam because after long negotiations we acquired a special permit to use it after all certificates have expired. All three museum locos in Serbia need a heavy overhaul before they can return to being usable for charter trains. But Serbia has more problems than repairing steam locomotives. There are also concerns regarding the available rolling stock in Mokra Gora.

The situation with steam in Bosnia-Herzegovina is not rosy either. Rather sooner than later the class 33 (German Kriegslok class 52) will be replaced by diesel. In Banovici they’ve actually purchased a diesel already and the soda factory in Lukavac has done the same. In addition the steam operated mine railways in Bukinje and Durdevik have been closed together with their mines. All in all: it really is high noon for commercially operated steam locomotives in Europe. It’s most unlikely that we will be able to repeat a similar tour in the future.

Only five steam locomotives in non-tourist service all over Europe remain and they are all in Bosnia, the last European stronghold of steam. These few locomotives belong to no less than three different classes on two gauges. You’ll see really big locos up to the 2-10-0 class 33. Most of the locos in use are American and German ‘Kriegsloks’. The class 33 was intended to be in service for a maximum of five years but now the oldest loco of its class is already 68 years old. The other Kriegslok is the 0-6-0 tank engine class 62, originally known as USATC S100 class. This class was spread well over Europe, including the UK, and a few examples even found their way to China. The concentration in the former Yugoslavia seemed to be exceptional and this resulted in very similar locomotives being built by the local company Duro Dakovic after WWII. Only one of the original American constructs with bar frame is still serviceable, the others are all plate frame Duro Dakovic copies.

Zajecar - Nis

Besides photographically interesting mine backdrops, we’ll see steam trains in open, hilly countryside on the short stretches from the state railway stations to the mines. In addition we’ve chartered many trains in a most interesting, sometimes spectacular and breath-taking countryside setting.

If everything works as planned we’ll see these classes in service:

1.435 mm


760 mm



1.435 mm



1.435 mm


760 mm


1.435 mm


Mokra Gora © James Waite



Serbia Bosnia Itinerary
16.10. Individual travel to Belgrade (Beograd), Meet at the airport in the afternoon, charter bus to Despotovac, hotel in Despotovac
17.10. ‘Plandampf’: for the daily coal train on the line from Markovac to Resavica we’ll use a class 33 ‘Kriegslok’ 33 087 (German class 52). In the early afternoon in Resavica a 0-6-0 methusalem, 126 014, will take over our freight train and shunt it to the mine. In the evening we planned some night shots with this extraordinary locomotive. Hotel in Despotovac
18.10. In the morning we’ll use 126 014 to shunt a bit in and around the station. We’ll also go with a coal train a short stretch on the state railway line to experience this fantastic old loco unleashed. Around noon we’ll continue to a mine which has no steam locomotives but a steam engine in use. The shaft lift is still operated by a vintage stationary steam engine, driving wooden cog wheels! In the afternoon we’ll go to our hotel in Pozarevac
19.10. Charter freight train with 33 087 in a nice hilly countryside. Our freight train will go from Pozarevac via Bor to Zajecar. Hotel in Zajecar
20.10. With our 33 we’ll continue over the sensational line through gorges and tunnels from Zajecar via Knjazevac (Knjaževac) to Nis (Niš). Charter bus to our hotel in Mokra Gora
21.10. Charter train on the “Sargan Eight“ with a classic train composition on 760 mm gauge, hauled by a 0-8-2 locomotive class 83. We’ll go from Mokra Gora to Sargan, Visit to the depot in Sargan, hotel in Mokra Gora
22.10. With our charter train we’ll return from Sargan to Mokra Gora in the morning. In the afternoon we’ll pass the karst gorge on the way from Mokra Gora to Visegrad in Bosnia (as far as the track is usable). Charter bus to our hotel in Sarajevo.
23.10. Individual return flight from Sarajevo.
22.10. Individual travel to Sarajevo, hotel in Sarajevo, Meet with the group in our hotel in the evening
23.10. In the morning we’ll visit the coal mine Breza. After two years with diesel they recently returned to steam (class 62). Around noon we’ll continue to the mine in Kakanj (class 62). We’ve planned night photography there. Hotel in Kakanj
24.10. In the morning we’ll have a look again into the mine’s station at Kakanj and hope to see another train to the state railway station. At noon we’ll continue to Zenica. They still have one spare loco class 62 and we’ll charter it for use it to shunt in front of the unique wooden loading facility in the mine. We’ve planned night photography here as well. Hotel in Zenica
25.10. Another time we will use the spare locomotive for some more shots of the best industrial backdrop mine of Bosnia in Zenica. Afterwards we’ll continue to Banovici. In the afternoon we’ll look after the shunting steam locomotive in Oskava, probably a class 83. Forest hotel in Banovici.
26.10. In the morning we’ll visit the depot of Banovici. For today we ordered a standard gauge loco to be under steam and shunt in the state railway station of Banovici. It will be either the Skoda-built 0-6-0 19-12 or a class 62. In the narrow gauge part of the station a class 25 or 83 will shunt while we have ordered another steam locomotive, Budapest-built 55-99 for our charter train on the double tracked narrow gauge line. This type was, for many years, used for the coal mines of Banovici. We’ve ordered a freight train consisting of covered box wagons and flat wagons.
27.10. We’ll go to Tuzla to see the last places in the world where the 2-10-0 class 33 is still regularly active. We’ll visit the mines in Dubrave and Sikulje and the depot in Bukinje, where they carry out the overhauls on these Kriegsloks. Hotel in Lukavac
28.10. The morning we’ll use to take pictures of the regular service of the class 33 while we’ve chartered a classmate to shunt in the closed mine station of Bukinje with it’s nice mine backdrop. Hotel in Lukavac
29.10. In the morning charter bus to Doboj. Charter freight train with a 33 and about 15 coal wagons from Doboj to Tuzla. Hotel Lukavac
30.10. In the morning we’ll take another look at the station at Lukavac to see when the regular train from the mine will go to the state railway. Later we’ll continue to the airport in Belgrade (arrival ca. 13 hrs) for our individual return trips homewards.


Line description

Steam in Serbia

The line from Markovac to Resavica starts in a rather flat and uninspiring area but develops soon after. In the last part it is mountainous and has some tunnels. The gradient is always towards Resavica which will make sure that our 2-10-0 class 33 has a lot of work to bring the regular coal train up to the mine. In the early afternoon we’ll reach Resavica. The centurion 126 014 is already under steam and waiting for us, to shunt the wagons to the mine. Besides this locomotive the mine owns another unique engine: 120 019. Both will be placed in a way we can make nice pictures of them, also in the night. A sight themselves are the railway men here who look very traditional and create the feel of a bygone era.

Steam in Resavica: 126 014

Hauled by 22 087 we’ll have another freight charter train from Pozarevac to Nis (Niš). Between Pozarevac and Bor we'll find some huge steel girder viaducts which are excellent photo spots. Bor is an industrial mine city which suffers from the destruction of its environment, but shortly after you’ll pass a very pleasant, hilly countryside. The line leaves Bor in a long descent before reaching the valley of the river Timok near Vrazogrnac. From here the line follows the river valley to Knjazevac.

Pozarevac - Zajecar

From Knjazevac (Knjaževac) to Nis (Niš) the line is one of the most scenic lines in Serbia, known for its many natural rock faced tunnels. There are double tunnels, triple tunnels, yes even quadruple tunnels on this line through the mountains. Some riveted steel bridges offer even more scenic potential. It’s impossible to stop at every scenic spot on this line. We need to select some of the best places.

An especially scenic part of the former narrow gauge line from Serbia to Sarajevo was rebuilt during the last decade. Most of the section Visegrad (Višegrad) – Mokra Gora – Sargan (Šargan)-Vitasi  can be used for charter trains these days. The section to Sargan is known as the Sargan Eight due to its winding line through the mountains. You can see two or even three levels of the line from some points. The line from Mokra Gora to Bosnia-Herzegovina goes through a narrow gorge which is only in sunshine in the afternoon. This section of the line is as spectacular as the hairpin bends on the line to Sargan.

83 in Mokra Gora © James Waite

A loco class 83 is serviceable to haul our train, but there are not many freight wagons left to be used for charter trains. However, we’ll try to offer an authentic train.


Steam in Bosnia-Herzegovina

After two years of diesel use, the coal mine at Breza has returned to using a class 62 tank engine again. The locomotive is only active on a very short track. However, a typical industrial mine back drop and a pedestrian bridge over the yard offer some nice photographic opportunities. However, the light is a bit tricky. In the morning you can take some interesting back light shots, so we’ll start early at this mine. As they only have one serviceable steam locomotive we should be prepared for this loco not to be serviceable, in which case we won’t see any steam here.


The coal mine at Catici belongs to Rudnika Mrkog Uglia Kakanj. It was one of the most important coal suppliers of the former Yugoslavia. The remaining 62 class locomotives are also used on the one kilometre long connection to the state railway. The line passes over the river Bosna on a photogenic, elderly concrete bridge. The mine and the coal washery are busy sites. Usually there are more than four trains each day to the state railway station. In Catici we have the chance to see the last original American-built locomotive, 62 020, in use.


The coal mine at Zenica was another location for the class 62. For several years now there have been discussions about closing the coal mine at Zenica. Up until now plans for closure haven’t materialised and we hope to find the mine in full operation. However, they want to use a diesel locomotive soon and hence we need to charter their spare locomotive class 62 to offer some steam activity in the mine. If the mine has no production we’ll also charter two freight wagons from the state railway to shunt with.

Zenica at night

Zenica at the coal loading facility

The coal mine with its wooden loading facilities is very photogenic and a good place for night photography. Therefore we have planned some night shots here.

Tuzla is host to the administration of the Kreka power plant and their coal mines in the region. The loco depot is in Bukinje. Here we’ll see the last 2-10-0 German ‘Kriegsloks’ class 33 (DR 52) and some class 62 locos (which are not used any more). The depot repairs all locos for the coal mines in Dubrave and Sikulje. These mines are close together, and we’ll visit them. Our special interest here is the class 33, of course. In Sikulje the class 33 locomotives returned to serve the state railway station after several years of shunting in the mine area only. This will give us special opportunities for interesting pictures. Of special interest is the departure at Lukavac with its 1930s style signal cabin. The departure order will be given by a flag from an employee at the signal box. There are also semaphores and semaphore distant signals on the short line to the mine.

33 in Dubrave

Dubrave and Sikulje normally each use one “Kriegslok” class 33. The link from the mine in Dubrave to the state railway has some good potential, although trains run chimney first downhill and return tender first uphill. But the departure from Dubrave is always a sight and well worth recording on video as well.

Both mines, Sikulje and Dubrave, deliver about two trains per day to the state railway. The mine in Bukinje was much smaller and finally closed. We’ll charter a locomotive and some wagons to shunt in the station with the most scenic mine backdrop of the Kreka mines.

In the depot at Bukinje they carry out heavy overhauls. We do not know their overhaul schedule, but such repairs take a long time, so the chances are not too slim that we’ll see an overhaul there. Because they want to acquire two diesel locomotives it cannot be guaranteed that there will still be a class 33 in regular use. They want to replace the steam locomotives in Dubrave and Sikulje, leaving only one or two spare steam locomotives in Bukinje. However, they still have four serviceable locomotives of class 33. So we can arrange something with money if everything else fails. Last but not least we have our charter train which will give us plenty of opportunities to get good shots from this class.

33 on the line Doboj - Tuzla

Kriegslok in regular use: Dubrave

We have chartered a class 33 for a real coal freight train on the state railway. Several photo stops and runpasts will give you good opportunities for line shots. The lines around Tuzla are all photogenic, running through valleys and alongside small rivers. The area is densely populated and typical Bosnian houses can be found alongside the tracks. However, road access is limited and some photo locations require a bit of an extra effort to get to. We have hired the class 33 steam loco (2-10-0) for seven hours. We’ll travel in a covered freight wagon at the end of the train.

Besides their narrow gauge steam locomotives, the coal mine administration of Banovici used to use standard gauge steam locomotives for their interchange yard with the state railway. Mainly the class 62 was active in the washery, but with a bit of luck we’ll see the Skoda built class 19 (0-6-0T). This operation was dieselised a few months ago so we’ll charter one of the remaining serviceable locomotives and use steam in the state railway station. They own a French class 144R (0-8-0T, Fives, Lille) as well, but this loco has been dumped for a long time and is out of use.

Skoda-built loco 19-12

The daily shunting operation in the narrow gauge part of the station (called Oskova) is usually done by a class 25 (Skoda built 0-6-0) or the last remaining class 83 (Slavonski Brod). The line service on the 760 mm narrow gauge is exclusively diesel with classes 720 (0-4-0) and 740 (4-4). As the line is beautiful and partly double tracked we’ve ordered a Budapest-built 0-8-0 tank locomotive which was in use on this line many years ago. We’ll haul a short freight train consisting of covered and flat wagons.

class 83 in Banovici

Durdevik was closed recently because the mine is exhausted. We’ll try to get the line cleared and the loco prepared for one last run with a charter freight train on this scenic line up to the mine. The mine itself offers also a superb backdrop. With a train of empties from the state railway station at Zivinice we’ll head uphill with several photo stops to the mine. You’ll probably never hear a class 62 working so hard anywhere else.

Because the condition of the line is doubtful and they haven’t promised or guaranteed that we can use it in the Autumn, we didn’t include this run in the tour price. If we’re lucky and it happens, we’ll need to collect money for this event. We’ll divide the costs through the number of participants. It’s not an option to drop out because of the weather situation or anything else, registering for the tour includes that you would be willing to share the costs which are expected to be around 50 Pounds per person. The more we are the cheaper the event.



Small Print

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia are secure and hassle free places for organised tours. Of course, the mentality of the locals is different from central and northern Europe especially when some alcohol is in the game. But this will not affect our tour at all, at work (most of) the railway men will strictly stick to their coffee. Taking photographs of railways still causes some sceptical views from railway workers and local people. We have organised (and paid for) a permit for every site we want to go to. To avoid any difficulties we shall not take pictures at places where we have no permission. At most locations (which aren’t on our permission list) it’s possible to obtain a permit from the local staff. Please be patient if this procedure takes a few minutes of our precious time. At some locations the officials do not issue permits to foreigners. Please consider that any unauthorised pictures can cost the whole group a lot of time. It’s much better to follow the restrictions. The factories have agreed to show us their locomotives. Several times we’ve found that as soon as you can show an official permit they’ll open all doors for you and even arrange an extra movement with their locomotives.

For ethnic reasons, Bosnia-Herzegovina is separated into two parts. You’ll not be aware of the border between the two states, the Republika Srpska and the Bosnian-Croatian Federation.

33 064 on its way to Sikulje

The standard of the selected middle class hotels cannot be compared with central European standards. After two wars in recent years, the tourist infrastructure has not recovered completely. Investment for tourist purposes in remote and coal mining areas is not on the priority list. Please accept that not everything will be perfect. However, the supply of food is certain, quality and quantity are quite good. Vegetarian food is not common and might be difficult to get.

Although for visitors of many countries it’s possible to enter Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia with a valid ID card we strongly recommend you take your passport with you. We need passports (and not ID cards) for the permits to visit some mines. In rare cases they even collect passports when we enter the factories.

We are travelling in the Autumn. The weather can be anything from snow showers at minus two degrees to deep blue sky and plus 25 degrees Centigrade. Please carry appropriate clothes with you to be prepared.

33 in Bukinje

Our charter bus offers a local standard. Please be prepared that we’ll travel sometimes for more than three hours to get from one steam location to another.

The tour is planned with the dedicated photographer and videographer in mind. Therefore we decided to use hotels close by the railways rather than first class resorts far away from any railway. In addition, we will use the daylight hours for photography rather than for substantial meals. It never hurts to carry a few snack foods along, just in case meals are delayed a little.

For night photography you’ll need a tripod. Even with Nikon D3s with it’s more than 100,000 ASA a tripod is recommended.

We will also visit regular steam sites while more often we’ll hire a special train or pay for a special duty. At the sites with regular steam it might happen that we have to wait a bit longer to get our pictures. At several locations there are one or two serviceable locomotives only. So it may happen that we won't see the described locomotive or train. In this case we will try to find an adequate alternative site with interesting operations. However, we are at the edge of a steam free age, and no one can guarantee that we’ll see what we have planned and paid for. Be assured we will do everything possible to make things work. We cannot offer refunds if things go wrong. For our tour there is no insurance available against a steam loco failure.

Please bear in mind that accommodation and transportation in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia may fall short of EU and North American safety standards. Always use common sense when crossing roads and railway tracks. FarRail Tours cannot be held responsible and will not accept any liability whatsoever in the case of any accident, damage or delay. We suggest you take out a comprehensive overseas accident and health insurance policy.

33 beyond Doboj



Please note that the price for the flight to Belgrade/Sarajevo is not included in the tour price. Usually flight prices are higher the later you book them.
Serbia & Bosnia
Steam Freight trough Serbia 26 to 45 participants £1,990
16.10.2011 – 23.10.2011 20 to 25 participants £2,240
  Single room surcharge £175
Registration Deadline: 15.07.2011
The Very Last Kriegsloks in Bosnia-Herzegovina 25 to 45 participants £1,760
22.10.2011 – 30.10.2011 16 to 24 participants £2,070
  Single room surcharge £155
Registration Deadline: 15.07.2011

The price includes:

Not included are:

As a service to our UK-based clients FarRail Tours accepts and will continue to accept payments made out in Pound Sterling until further notice. However, please note that from January 28, 2009, all prices quoted in Pound Sterling are indicative only and are subject to change without prior notice. This measure was taken by FarRail Tours due to the unprecedented volatility in the international foreign exchange markets and its impact on the valuation of the Pound Sterling versus other major currencies, namely the Euro as FarRail Tours' accounting currency.

33 in Bosnianska Biela


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