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 Ian and Jill tour Bulgaria 20-9-2019

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 A couple of our members, Ian and Jill visited Bulgaria and travelled behind steam traction and other forms of rail haulage via Sophia Bansko, Plovidiv and Burgas. for the past decade RTC have been running highly customized main line steam tours to Bulgaria.  Framed by the Black Sea, the Danube, and the Rhodope Mountains this up and coming country is a fantastic destination for authentic railway experiences and boasts an amazing variety of huge steam locomotives.  Without its own rolling stock industry Bulgaria always had to rely on imports from factories in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.  the result is an eclectic mix that cant be experienced anywhere else in the world. From elegant 4-8-2 or 2-8-2 express locomotives to the rugged 2-10-4 narrow gauge tank engine, Bulgaria has what others lack! 

Perhaps the most extraordinary example is the recently refurbished and newly overhauled 2-12-4 "beast" 46.03. Built by Fablok in Poland, this huge freight locomotive is now the only operational, 12-coupled steam locomotive in the world. Sure enough, it was the key attraction on this tour The Black Sea Express. On this relaxed main line tour, which features the Royal Train of King Boris as an added attraction, RCT travel with 46.03 . Experience the elegance and comfort of our stately salon train originally dating from the 1930s! The Railway Touring Company is indeed the only tour operator worldwide that charter hires the Royal Train of King Boris, going the extra mile to give all us - its travellers a touch of luxury instead of simply ordinary, dated BDZ coaches, like the other tour operators to Bulgaria, and on this trip what a difference a royal train makes!

The amazing narrow gauge tank engine 609.76 has returned from refurbishment to the Rhodope Mountains. Without steam, the 125 km long narrow gauge Rhodope Railway from Septemvri via Bansko to Dobrinishte. Thanks to its superbly engineered spiral tunnels, this Long Branch line is an icon of Bulgaria and has been called the "Rhaetian Railway of the Balkans". As the huge tank engine battles the steep gradients, plenty of steam spectacle is on offer! Visiting the Rhodope Mountains also provides the opportunity to stay at the 5-star Kempinski Hotel in Bansko for one night, which has always been a fixture on our tours.

So join Ian and Jill on the Black Sea Express of September 2019! Grab all the glory of Bulgarian mountain scenery and Rhodope narrow gauge steam, and enjoy this photo gallery set.


Copyright of all pictures in this gallery belong I Thomas.