Narrow Gauge East '16 - 9: Berehove - Irshava (50 p.)

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Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Regauged East '03-'16 - 8: Chop - Berehove (50 p.)

The video for this part (please set to 1080p quality / full-screen mode):

July 30 2016

Saturday morning, we left our accommodation before half past six and walked through already partly busy Berehove.

Our destination was the narrow gauge depot at Berehove Male station, the rail connection to the broad gauge line is impassable nowadays.

Everything was set for a 7 a.m. departure, our photo charter consisted of three coaches.

Traction for the day: TU2-034, working narrow gauge lines in the Soviet Union from 1956, based at Berehove since 1972.
More about this class:

Construction of this Bosnian-760 mm-gauge-line (from 1948 under Soviet rule regauged to 750 mm) started in 1908 as Borzsavölgyi Gazdasági Vasút ("Borsha Valley Economic Railway"), after the Ukrainian name of the river: Borshava Valley Railway. However, nowadays Borshava Valley is not even reached anymore, as this section lies beyond the current terminal, Irshava.
An overview of the network and history (in German, click "translate"):
Only the branch line Khmilnyk - Vynohradiv is still seeing regular passenger traffic, the line Khmilnyk - Berehove is just used for occasional transfers to the depot, Khmilnyk - Irshava not at all anymore.
Former Berehove freight yard testifies to the erstwhile importance of the railway. Goods traffic stopped around the year 2000, in the end mainly serving Pryborshavske lime kiln.

We departed with only two coaches, one had to be shunted away by muscle power (several travelling companions pushed from the back).

Afterwards the class TU2 was coupled back to the (now realistic, for scheduled traffic) composition.

The engine hauled us at up to 10 mph (maybe sometimes slightly more).

Out of the shade of a nearby hill, we stopped first at Yanoshi.

I found the perfect model on this lush meadow.

Wonderful mood with banks of fog still shrouding the low hills partly home to vineyards (-> Vynohradiv).

We continued to Zatyshne for the next encounter of the bovine kind.

I sprinted to the cow pasture and was not disappointed.

At Kidyosh we had distanced the foggy hills.

A typical level crossing.

Contre-jour view ahead up the line - mostly grown over everywhere else.

Fare-dodgers have to pay an unspecified amount of coupons karbovanets (hyperinflationary currency of the Ukraine after independence 1992-1996) - what's the "shtraf" for snoozing in the backwards facing cab? ;-)

Smoking on the other hand costs a hefty 85 hryvnias - in comparison: my whole railway trip through Ukraine this year was cheaper.
The innovative exhaust system probably will not be fined at all...

Through thickets we approached Nyzhni Remety.

A current monument.

Some Soviet era monuments are getting replaced, the ones for soldiers seem to be kept in good condition.

A stork and a loco driver surveying the scenery.

Futuristic Soviet bus stop design.

The loving owner of the goat family came by, then we left the village.

Garden of Eden Verkhni Remety.

Branches of fruit trees were hanging across the line, so you were almost hit by falling apples inside the coach during the ride. You only would have had to sit there with your mouth open...

Backbreaking work in a corn field - that's Ukrainian rural life.

Entering Khmilnyk from Berehove on the jungle line, the semaphores are not operational anymore. As the train went past I almost had to jump into the bushes (see video from minute 7:00). Afterwards I jogged behind it with ease, spurred on by the people in the last coach.

The station master of the narrow gauge junction posing with the neurotic station dog.

Children's shoes transported by draisine, there is no road connection to the station.

We continued on the section to Irshava which does not see any regular operations anymore. One reason can be spotted here: big roads make bus transport much faster than the rail could ever be. From Siltse the surroundings towards Irshava seem more modern and lively.

We followed the tracks, the train followed us. We had to convince this lady to step in front of our lenses.

We captured kilometre 39, then boarded the train again.

By 11:30 a.m. our train reached the town of Irshava featuring an Orthodox cathedral.

More about the current terminal of the line and further travel next time! :0)
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