Wings and Wheels Society.

Steam in Austria, Hungary, and Czech Republic Railtour 17-5-2023.

Another year and another Railway Touring Company expedition. This time to Hungary. Austria and the Czech Republic. Sunday May 14th saw Jill and I set off from Stroud to London Paddington in the late afternoon. From there, we took the Elizabeth Line to Heathrow Terminal 3 and a stop overnight in a premier inn on the old A4 Bath Road. The following morning we made our way to Terminal 3, met the tour manager, and checked in. departing on BA08666 flight to Budapest. After passing through the passport and luggage areas we then transferred to our central hotel and we were issued a city transport ticket. We walked to the river Danube and after a break boarded the no 2 tram for a ride along its entire route. Later it was a ride on the Metro M1 system to the Danube for dinner aboard the paddle steamer Kossuth.

Day 2. And we were taken by coach to the Vasuttorteneti Park Rail Museum for a tour around the roundhouse and trip (on the footplate for me) aboard the vintage class 341 0-6-0 locomotive no 1026 up and down the yard. Lunch then served in the ex-pullman dining car before transfer to the Children's Railway for a trip along the entire line between Huvosvolgy to Szechenyi Hegy. From there we took the cable railway to Varosmajor and then the tram system and funicular to Buda Castle. Jill and I then split from the party and used our rover ticket for a tram bash in the steady rain and murk, as they too had a wet spring.

Day 3. Breakfast, the tram to Budapest Nyugati station to board our main line steam charter with MAV Class 424 No 424.009...A cracking run to Kecskemet with photo opportunities and, a first for me, a footplate ride on the mainline. Truly Awesome, and hold on for dear life. Lunch and dinner served aboard with plenty of beer and wine. And a circular back to Nyugati station, and a temporary improvement in the weather.

Day 4. This time we amassed at Budapest Keleti station and diesel traction in the form of M6 "NOHAB" for a trip to Tapolca in cold and dismal weather, but the coffee and lunch were good. The afternoon saw us take a break at Fonyod by Lake Balaton. Then back to Budapest Kelenfold.

Day 5. And a transfer to Vienna. Once again issued with city rover tickets and lunch in a classic Viennese restaurant. What a cake selection for afters. Awesome Indeed. more tram bashing in a city with an overwhelming suburban system.

Day 6. With our hotel across the road from Wien HBF (OBB) station it was off to the city's Prater Park for a ride on the Ferris Wheel and a trip on the 15inch gauge Prater Railway. Moving on to Silberwald for the Strasshoff Museum with ample time to view the yards and loco depots. Then a trip down the yard with DBR Class 52 No 52-001, a class 52 2-10-0..and a diesel locomotive cab ride into the bargain. The day was done and a major improvement in the weather from cold to very sunny and warm. Dinner taken in Vienna city centre.

Day 7. Another train in another country, a first again and this time the Czech Republic (Czechia). Taking the Rail jet service from HBF to Brno. Then our own private charter from Brno to Zastavka U BRNA. with preserved CZ Class 749 diesel locomotive, known as "GRUMPY”. Transfer to the Zbysov heritage railway for double heading to the terminus and a buffet lunch in the warm sun. Back retracing our steps to Brno and a late afternoon vintage tram ride around the city. Plenty of tram pictures before traveling back to Vienna HBF.

Day 8. The final day saw us travel to St Polten for the line to Mariazell high in the hills. A short but delightful tram took us to the town for lunch at a charming Austrian restaurant with beer thrown in (again). I could have stopped there all day! Back on the tram and onward via St Polten to Vienna HBF concluding our tour of that part of Europe.

Day 9. Time to come back home aboard flight BA0703 to Heathrow and back to Gloucestershire on the following day. Another good holiday with the Railway Touring Company concluded and memories forever. However, we hope to return to the Czech Republic (Czechia) later in the year, this time based in Prague. Cheer's, Ian and Jill.

Copyright of all pictures in this gallery belong to I and J Thomas.