Czech Holiday – Ostrava – June 2023

Eastern Czechia - Click to expand

Following the success of the week spent in Praha last year and looking at Czech railways it was decided that this year we would be based in Ostrava.  During the afternoon of Saturday 3rd June 8 RCTS members assembled on Platform 2 of Ostrava hl.n. station, four travelling overland by rail, three flying into various airports and then continuing their journey by rail and one driving from the UK.  Whist observing we saw a brand new Slovakian six car Stadler Kiss EMU, in fact the numbers were printed on card and stuck in the window (561-102), and Regiojet Pesa Elf2 2-car EMU (1654-007) and a Pesa Hydrogen Locomotive (920-000). These were then marshalled into a siding beyond the station with some other locos and they were there until the Wednesday. After a few hours of train spotting it was time to make our way to the two hotels that we were using for the week.  This meant boarding a train on platform 5 or 6 for the three minute journey to Ostrava-Stodolni and then a short walk.  We would certainly get to know Stodolni station during the week.  Then it was into the centre to find something to eat.  In the main square there was a music festival taking place, but we did manage to find a restaurant that could accept all of us.  Food choices ranged from Goulash, Viener Schnitzels and Pork Knuckles.  We were certainly spoilt for choice and made were very welcome.  In fact we visited the establishment on two other occasions during the week, but steered clear of the very large pork knuckles.

Not long after some of the RCTS party arrived by train at Ostrava hl.n. on 3 June 2023 brand new Stadler Kiss 6-car EMU, ZSSK 561-201 arrived from Poland hauled by PKP Cargo ET41-137 (160-209) for display later in the week close to Ostrava Střed along with several other brand new units and locomotives. The only identification of the vehicles were sheets of paper stuck on the inside of the windows. Steve Ollive

During the week we used the “Czech One Ticket” which allowed us to use any operator, costing £85 first class for the week.

The objective for the Sunday was to see and ride on the only narrow gauge operated by CD (České dráhy).  Travelling north east from Ostrava hl.n., via Ostrava Svinov and Opava we arrived at Třemešná ve Slezsku and transferred to the narrow gauge (750mm) for the ride to Osoblaha.  Arriving at 12.15 after a 50 minute, 20km journey through wonderful countryside.  Some of the party took the opportunity to walk across the border into Poland, not a major hike.  The return journey started at 13.45 to Opava východ  where we changed trains for a ride to Hlučín  and travelled to the end of another branch line.  Then it was the same trip back from Hlučín  to Opava východ  and on to Ostrava hl.n. and Stodolni.

On the last remaining operational 760mm gauge line in Czechia, CD Bo-Bo Diesel Electric locomotive 705-913 lays over at Osoblaha on 4 June 2023 before working the 13:46 train to Tremesna ve Slezsku. 705-913 was built in 1958 as class TU47.0 and had a complete refresh in 2022. Gordon Adams

Monday 5th the early risers took the opportunity to watch trams for an hour or so before catching the 09.30 from Stodolni to look at some branch lines to the south of Ostrava to Frýdlant  nad Ostravici, with our final destination for the first part of the day being Horní Lideč .   During the journey we had our one and only bus replacement of the week, Veřovice to Valašské Meziříčí , some 30 minutes. Thanks to Steve for noticing that we could have been affected later in the week, but careful changing of days resolved the issue.  Our journey continued to Fulnek by now familiar rail bus.  Then it was time to go to return to Ostrava hl.n. and Stodolni for our evening meal.

Ostrava has a reasonable sized tram system with a mixture of old Tatra single car trams, Pragiomex Vario and several Skoda tram types. Tatra T3 no: 1004 approaches the Karolina tram stop on 5 June 2023 whilst working route 10 to Mor. Ostrava,Plynárny with sister tram 998. Originally built in 1987 and rebuilt in both 2001 and 2017. Steve Ollive
CD Diesel Electric Motor Coach 843-029 awaits departure on the 09:40 from Ostrava Střed to Olomouc hl.n. on 5 June 2023. These moto coaches were built between 1995 and 1997 and work regional trains based out of Olomouc or Liberec. Gordon Adams

The following day we set off from Ostrava hl.n. for the short trip to Bohumín, which has a depot which was certainly worth spending some time at the station as quite a bit of freight was to be seen.  After this it was back on a train to Mosty u Jablunkova and Český Těšín where we spent some time train watching.  Then it on to Ostrava Svinov via Ostrava Kunčice to finish off the day at this busy station. After that it was back to Stodolni, you’ve guessed it, to have an evening meal.

PKP Cargo Bo-Bo Diesel Electric locomotive 740-819 passes through Ostrava hl.n. on 6 June 2023 with a coal train bound for one of the many industrial facilities in the area. Originally class T448.0 built in 1984 it is in the livery of Advanced World Transport (AWT) which PKP Cargo took control of in 2015. Steve Ollive
Alstom TRAXX MS3 Bo-Bo Electric locomotive 388-217 built in 2022 and owned by Regiojet at Ostrava hl.n. at 08:44 on 6 June 2023 working IC1108 the 08:35 from Bohumín to Brno-Kralovo Pole. Curiously this locomotive and many of its classmates are registered in Austria rather than Czechia, although they are not yet authorised to cross the border into Austria! Regiojet is the open-access rail operator of Student Agency that operates a lot of coach services in Czechia, Slovakia as well as being a major travel agency. Steve Ollive
CD Bo-Bo Diesel Electric locomotive 754-086 passes through Ostrava hl.n. working empty stock to the depot at Bohumín. The train originated at Frydlant nad Ostravici at 07:54 and arrived at 08:34 on the platforms behind the wall to the left of the train. This class of locomotive was built in 1979 and 1980 as class T478.4. Steve Ollive
ZSSK Cargo Bo-Bo+Bo-Bo single ended back to back paired 3000V DC Electric Locomotives 131-004+131-003 pass through Bohumín hauling a freight towards Ostrava on 6 June 2023. The class 131 locomotives were originally call E479.1 built between 1980 and 1982 by Skoda for use on heavy freight trains on routes with steep ruling gradients. Mike Martin
CD 3-car EMU (3000V DC) no: 471-080 at Mosty u Jablunkova close to the Slovakian border awaits to work the 13:06 stopping train back to Ostrava on 6 June 2023 with the RCTS taking photographs around the station. These units were built between 1997 and 2013 are known as CityElefants and work local services around Ostrava and Praha. Mike Martin
CD Bo-Bo 3000V DC Electric locomotive 151-019 at Český Těšín with train R347 bound for Zilina in Slovakia on 6 June 2023. This locomotive was built in 1978 as class E499.2 and was rebuilt sometime between 1996 and 2002 and modified for 160Km/h running. Steve Ollive

Wednesday 7th saw the group heading south aiming for Břeclav.  Our journey took us via Hranice na Moravě, Přerov and Staré Město u Uh.Hrad. before it was time to board the usual rail bus class 811/814 to travel the branch line to Hodonín via Veselí n.Moravou.  A short change then it was about an hour to Zaječí where we changed to a class 660 to take us onto Břeclav.  This gave us a chance to catch our breath and spend the first part of the afternoon train watching and eating our lunch.  Břeclav is a busy station as it is at the junction for traffic coming up from Praha, Berlin, Budapest and Wien.  It also carries out maintenance work on the locos.  After a couple of hours it was the direct route back to Ostrava hl.n.. 

IDS Bo-Bo 25kV AC Electric locomotives 242-288 and 242-289 heading a train of tank wagons through Břeclav on 7 June 2023. These locomotives were built by Skoda in 1971 as Class S499.02 and were originally used by BDZ in Bulgaria. Steve Ollive

Thursday and Friday were the two days that had to be changed as mentioned earlier.  This meant that today (Thursday) we were heading for Olomouc on the east of Czechia.  It was a train journey of some 75 minutes that included a change of trains at Hranice na Moravě before arriving at Olomouc about 15 minutes late.  The plan was to train spot at the station and tram spot, you could do both by selecting where you stood on platform 2. After about two hours it was time to travel on to Červenka and further to Prostějov hl.n..  We continued to the end of the branch line, Dzbel, where after a 15 minute stop it was time to retrace our journey.  The interesting part of the journey was that the train crew changed three times in the hour or so we were on the train, the driver was the same throughout.  We then returned to Olomouc for our evening meal, a Chinese dinner which always seems to feature on Steve’s Tours, this time it was a bit different, on the 18th floor of the Allianz insurance building, located opposite the station.  The views were exceptional of the city and the customary group photograph taken.

CD Bo-Bo Diesel Electric locomotive 714-024 working as depot and station pilot at Olomouc passes through Olomouc hl.n. hauling a class 460 3-car EMU on 8 June 2023. This locomotive class was built between 1994 and 1997 and were originally for use on branch trains bit have now been superseded by class 814 DMUs. Gordon Adams
CD 4-wheel Diesel Mechanical railbus (Regio Mouse) 810-071 and 810-468 at Senice na Hané awaiting a connection from Olomouc hl.n. due at 13:06 on 8 June 2023. 810-071 had arrived from Prostejov hl.n. and will work on to Cervenka whilst 810-468 is working in the opposite direction. These railbuses were built between 1973 and 1984 as class M152.0, and many have been rebuilt into class 814 2 or 3 car DMUs, some have also been modified for driver-only operation (class 809) or re-engined (class 811). Mike Martin
CD Cargo Bo-Bo Diesel Electric Locomotive 731-043 rests with a short freight train at Prostějov hl.n. on 8 June 2023. This class of locomotive was built between 1998 and 1992 as class T457.1. Gordon Adams
CD Bo-Bo Electric Locomotive 163-081 calls at Prostějov hl.n. on 8 June 2023 to collect passengers bound for Olomouc and stations to Kouty nad Desnou departing at 16:01. This locomotive is one of a large family of Skoda built locomotives built in the 1990s as class ES499, this being for 3000V DC, others being dual voltage (3000V DC and 25kV AC). As well as passenger duties, a large number have been built or rebuilt for freight use. Gordon Adams

On Friday, our journey started at Stodolni and on to where a change of trains at Oprava východ, took us via Krnov and Bruntál to the end of the branch at Rýmarov.  On the opposite side to the station buildings here was a loading platform which was being used for timber logs.  From Rýmarov it was an hour back to Bruntál and yet another change of trains to take us to Olomouc via Valšov.  The afternoon was spent on Olomouc station, some of the time sheltering from a thunderstorm, one very close indeed, instantaneous that made several people jump.  Our meal that evening was in the city, but it did give us the opportunity to take various rides on the trams.

CD 4-wheel Diesel Mechanical railbus (Regio Mouse) 811-520 at Rýmarov on 9 June 2023 with many of the RCTS in shot taking photographs of the train, station and exploring the surrounding area before departing for the junction station of Bruntal at 12:25. These railbuses were built between 1973 and 1984 as class M152.0, and many have been rebuilt into class 814 2 or 3 car DMUs, some have also been modified for driver-only operation (class 809) or re-engined (class 811). Steve Ollive

Saturday, our last full day of the tour, the group made our longest single journey of the week, 2 hours 15 minutes to the city of Brno, actually arriving 4 minutes early.  Brno is the second largest city after Praha and also the second largest tram system. Some took the opportunity to check out the railway scene in and around Brno, including staying on the Regiojet to Kralovo Pole and returning on one of the new units.  This gave us the opportunity to have a brief look at the yard between Brno-Maloměřice and Brno-Židenice, Zinewoe, Královo Pole and Lesna before returning to Brno Hln.  The rest of the time was shared between train and tram spotting until our return train departed at 14.22.  Several of the new Regional EMUs were seen in their Pink JML livery. A change at Břeclav before arriving at Ostrava hl.n. and onwards to Stodolni.

CD cargo Bo-Bo Electric Locomotive 123-026 passes Ostrava hl.n. on a freight train heading towards Bohumín in the early morning of 10 June 2023. Built in 1971 as class E469.3 these Skoda built locomotives are still busy working freight trains in the east of Czechia under 3000V DC. Most of the class are now in the standard two tone blue livery, but some like 123-026 have so far escaped a repaint. Gordon Adams
CD Bo-Bo 25kV AC Electric locomotive 242-254 arriving at Brno hl.n. with a local train from Uherske Hradiste. This locomotive is still in the old orange and cream livery and may only have a limited future as many new EMUs are going into service in the region. This class of locomotive was built between 1975 and 1981 as class S499.02. Steve Ollive
Brno has the second largest tram network / fleet in Czechia. On 10 June 2023 Tatra KT8D5 no:1703 pauses at the stop close to the main station whilst working route 10 to Stránská skála. This tram was built in 1989 and rebuilt with a low-floor centre section in 2007. In the background CD Class 650 no: 650-006 approaches the main station. The Class 650 is a Skoda built “RegioPanter” 2-car dual voltage EMU built between 2011 and 2015. Gordon Adams
CD Cargo Slovakia Bo-Bo 25kV AC Electric Locomotive 230-107 stabled in the depot area at Břeclav on 10 June 2023. This class of locomotive were built between 1966 and 1967 as class S489.0 and have fibreglass cabs. Although allocated to the Cargo depot of Ostrava they are based at Břeclav as Ostrava is on the 3000V DC system. Many are stored at Břeclav and some appear to be derelict. Steve Ollive
CD Cargo Bo-Bo 3000V DC Electric Locomotive 130-010 passes Ostrava depot light engine with many other stabled locomotives visible. This locomotive was built in 1977 as class E479.0 and was the last of a series of classes with similar body design (classes 121, 122, 123 and 240). Steve Ollive

The trip had a very international feel about it having seen trains from Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Poland and even Bulgaria in our travels.

As is customary on one of Steve’s Tours the whole group assembled at the restaurant that we first used on the previous Saturday.  It did give the group the opportunity to firstly thank Matthew for being the chief restaurant finder for the week and a grand job he did.  Secondly, everyone expressed their heartfelt thanks to Steve for all his planning and organisation that made it such a great week.  For those of us that had been on previous tours it was just as we expected, a fabulous trip enjoyed by all.  Each member of the group asked him about next year’s trip and hoping it was to be the Czech Republic again.

The RCTS party standing in the foyer outside the Chinese restaurant on the 18th floor of the Alliance building opposite Olomouc hl.n. having finished our excellent evening meal on 8 June 2023 before heading back to Ostrava. From left to right: Gordon Adams, Simon Reeve, Matt Shaw, Denis Horsman, Mike Martin, Steve Ollive, Andy Davies and Irene Rabbitts. Matthew Shaw

Report prepared by Denis Horsman