Bulgarian state railways BDZ and the country’s Tourism Ministry are jointly offering two excursions on April 8 and 9 2017 on rolling stock pulled by a 1930s steam engine billed as “the most powerful in Europe”.
Designed by Bulgarian engineers and built in Poland, the 46.03 locomotive – named Baba Metza (“Granny Bear”) – was restored in 2015 after being neglected following 55 years in continuous service.
The 150-ton steam engine, which boasts 90 tons braking power, was dubbed Baba Metza by driver Angel Alexiev for the locomotive’s enormous size and excellent traction.
The first of the two excursions is on April 8. The train departs from Sofia Central Railway Station at 8.55am. It will stop at Radomir, where “Granny Bear” will be “fed” – in the words of the BDZ media statement – and then go on to Kyustendil.
“For nature lovers, there are two stops, at Zemen, for Zemen Monastery, and at Skakavitsa, for the waterfall.” At Kyustendil station, passengers will be welcomed with a programme and guides. There will be ample time to photograph the train at Kyustendil station, BDZ said. The train returns to Sofia at 3.05pm.
A return ticket with a reserved seat for this trip costs 43 leva, BDZ said.
On April 9, the excursion is to Cherepish Monastery. The train departs at 9.30am and reaches Cherepish at 11.50am. Arrival back in Sofia is scheduled for 3.05pm. A return ticket costs 31 leva.
Tickets for the two excursions are on sale at ticket offices of BDZ in Sofia, the state railways said, giving the contact number for information 0700 10 200.
(Main photo via BDZ)