Silistra still has a single loco-hauled service. During the morning a BDZ 07 arrives with 2 coaches from Sofia: a couchette and a normal coach. After that both coaches are brought to the local depot for cleaning, while the loco is brought to the former freight dock at the station itself. There and then the shift ends for the loco’s crew. It starts again at 5pm. The loco is started and warmed up until it’s ready to go. Then it heads towards the depot, which is little more than a personel and equipment shed with some sidings. There it picks up 2 coaches for the evenin’s train, which are usually the 2 coaches with which it arrived earlier that day. Although there are reserve coaches ready in case one failed during the morning run to Silistra. As Silistra is quite remote it’s no wonder the old couchette coaches are kept here. After that the train gets pushed back towards the station, usually towards the first platform, where it will depart at 6.20pm.
The evening train from Silistra to Sofia can be found as the 9646 from Silistra to Gorna Orjahovica on most train schedules. At Gorna Orjahovica the coaches get hooked onto the 2626 from Varna to Sofia, although regularly it’s only the couchette coach going all the way to Sofia. The Silistra-Sofia vv service is the only domestic service in Bulgaria that still uses the couchette coaches. All other domestic sleeper trains use modern sleeper coaches. Then again, Silistra is quite remote when looking at the destinations of the other sleeper trains. Dobrich might be kinda remote too, however those coaches get cleaned at Varna.
May 17th of 2022 was a nice sunny, warm day. The next day wouldn’t be. So on the 17th the clouds were slowly moving in during the evening. Luckily the train wouldn’t depart too quickly, so I had enough time to snap some pictures. BDZ’s 07 106 was ready to depart with the train, although the crew was taking their time to rest and enjoy the sun.
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