11 May 2019 at 10:43 pm #2493
Hello friends. Here in this topic I will share some information and photos about the use of diesel locomotives from the type LDE 2100 in BDZ – Bulgarian State Railways. Despite being a bit old now, a number of these locomotives are still in use in daily traffic and are also responsible for shunting activities in industrial areas and marshaling yards. BDZ Class 06 (LDE 2100) were the first six axle, diesel-electric engines acquired by the state railways in Bulgaria. They were purchased in bulk with separate orders consisting from between 10 and 30 units. The first 10 locomotives arrived in Bulgaria in November and December 1966. The 06 series were delivered until the late autumn of 1975 and the overall number of ordered units was 130. Unfortunately several locomotives were lost even before the last members of the series had been delivered. For the time of their purchase and delivery, the LDE 2100 were machines that brought many novelties to the daily work order of the Bulgarian Railways. Despite that they suffered from a couple of shortcomings which caused a certain amount of problems for the railways. The first and main problem was the lack of train heating. The engines had to be coupled to special train heating cars in order to work on passenger services. The units that were delivered between 1966 and 1969 were stationed in the depots of Gorna Oryahovitsa, Stara Zagora and Varna where they were working in the mixed traffic servicing both passenger and freight trains including fast and express trains. Starting from 1970, the Sulzers started appearing in the depot of Sofia and until 1975 the depot of Ruse also received a number of them. During all their service life, the machines proved to be robust and good workers. Except for the lack of train heating they suffered from a couple of other problems concerning separate systems, different apparatus and especially problems with the batteries. Despite that they continued their hard work every day. After the extension of the electrification of the railway network in the 1970s and 1980s, the fields of activity of the Class 06 started to shrink and the machines began to work more and more in the freight traffic. They were servicing local freight trains, maintenance trains and sometimes even helping with the shunting duties in big marshaling yards and on secondary routes. As I mentioned before, the series were never fully completed as some of the engines were lost during the period of delivery of other. The first representative of BDZ Class 06 that was lost was 06-38 which was decommissioned just 6 months after its delivery. On 01.10.1968 the loco collided in the rear part of a freight train carrying petroleum products and burned completely. The second 06 loco that was lost was 06-49 from depot Varna which was lost in a horrifying head on collision with BDZ 55-23 in the station of Venchan on 23.03.1973. 06-49 was working a freight train and was waiting in the station for crossing with the incoming fast train 28A “Albena” headed by the loco 55-23. The crash caused the death of both engineers in the LDH 125 and one of the crew members of the Sulzer. The other engineer from the 06 was lucky to be outside the machine when the collision occurred. Both locomotives burned heavily as well as the first four passenger cars from the fast train resulting in high number of fatalities. The immense force of the collision and the temperature of the fire that followed were so high that the wrecks of the two locomotives welded together and were this way brought back to the depot in Varna to be decommissioned and scrapped a few months later. For the next almost two decades just two more units were lost – 06-86 as a result of a crash in Vratsa on 01.09.1977 and 06-57 which was lost in a fire in 1987. With the progress of the electrification of the railway network, the management of BDZ took a decision to sell several locomotives to industrial operators. As most factories in the country were already equipped with East German V60 shunters, Hungarian Ganz-Mavag switchers or LDH 125 locos, in the end only 4 units were sold. In November 1983, locomotives 06-67, 06-79 & 06-113 were sold to the Maritsa-Iztok coal mines and coal power plant complex. On 13.11.1984, loco 06-123 was exchanged for shunter loco 52-237 (East German V60) and was transferred to its new home – a chemical plant near the town of Smyadovo in North Bulgaria. 1992 was a relatively bad year for the Sulzers as 3 units were lost in that year. 06 007.9 and 06 085.5 took part in a crash between Liubimets and Harmanli while serving respectively an International train to Istanbul and a local freight train. The collision was heavy and resulted in several casualties and the decommissioning of both locomotives. 06 110.1 was lost on 17.08.1992 and is to be remembered for its role in one of the most tragic train accidents in Bulgaria. That day the Sulzer was working a local freight train and was waiting at the station of Kazichene (just outside Sofia in direction Plovdiv on main line 1) for the express train “Sunny Beach” to pass through the station and to continue with the shunting duties. The main engineer left the locomotive to go to the station building to prepare the necessary documents. Meanwhile the second engineer (which was later proven by the investigation that was drunk in that day) started moving the train towards the switches thinking that the express had already passed and not paying attention to the signals. The result was a collision into the side of the express train which was transiting with more than 110 km/h. 8 people died and 54 were injured some of them badly. The engines (the express was being hauled by BDZ Class 46, a Romanian made Electric loco) and some of the cars of both trains were so well stuck into each other that the crews clearing the site after the crash had to bring T-72 tanks from a tank regiment 30 km away from the location in order to be able to separate them. This was the last accident that a member of Class 06 was ever involved into. The changes in 1989-1990 and the transition from planned to open market economy took a heavy toll on the railways. As factories across the country started to shut down and declare bankruptcy, the amount of cargo being carried by the railways started to shrink. The development of many private truck transport companies in the early 1990s made the situation even worse. With less work for them, some of the Sulzers started spending their days being stabled in the depots across the country. The decreasing income led to lack of spare parts and the first cases of “cannibalizing” started to appear. Some of the locomotives were used as donors for parts in order to keep others working. At first this was done as a temporary measure until the orders for the delivery of the necessary parts would be completed. With the situation getting even worse, 38 members of Class 06 were written off and scrapped between 1993 and 1996. 06 020 and 06 026 were scrapped in 1993, followed by 06 002, 06 004, 06 005, 06 006, 06 015, 06 019, 06 021, 06 034, 06 035, 06 044, 06 046, 06 052, 06 058, 06 072, 06 075, 06 076, 06 091, 06 093, 06 095, 06 100, 06 101, 06 106, 06 109, 06 117, and 06 124. 11 locomotives were written off in 1996: 06 003, 06 008, 06 011, 06 013, 06 016, 06 024, 06 027, 06 028, 06 063, 06 071, 06 098. This way by the end of 1996, 30 years after the delivery of the first member of Class 06, 38 % of the locomotives from this class were written off or lost in accidents. The remaining 62 % of the series were working and were stationed in the depots of Sofia, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Dupnitsa, Dimitrovgrad, Mezdra & Tcherven bryag. Between 2000 and 2007, another 21 engines were written off and as of 2007, about four decades after the start of their service with BDZ, 60 units or 46 % of all members of the series were still in service. Unfortunately the number of these had decreased even further within the last decade due to lack of spare parts and enough work for them. Currently members of Class 06 can be seen operating in the area around Sofia, Plovdiv, Dimitrovgrad and Stara Zagora working on local freight trains, maintenance trains and helping in the marshaling yards. The area where I live was one of the places in Bulgaria where seeing a freight train headed by a Sulzer was something normal especially until the mid 1990`s. They used to work on local freight trains and service branch lines in the area. Now the nearest place where I can see one is around Sofia. A couple of these machines were sent to Romania for refurbishment and minor renovations and are working for BDZ Cargo. Some former Romanian Sulzers were purchased and are working for private operators in Bulgaria. I really miss them because their sound was very distinctive and I am fan of the diesel locos although some say that they are dirty and non eco-friendly. Here I will also upload images from different eras of the working life of the Suzlers with the Bulgarian state railways. The next topic will be about the BDZ Class 55 (LDH 125).
No train, no fun!11 May 2019 at 11:38 pm #2494
Here I have uploaded several images as a start. There are many, many photos but it will take some time to arrange them, upload them and post links here. This will be as a start.
No train, no fun!12 May 2019 at 12:27 am #2495
In both accidents, considering 06-38 ,06-49. What was the cause? Technical error or human error?
Nice pictures also!19 May 2019 at 5:45 pm #2518
The train crash with 06-49 was a result of a human error. The train master at Venchan was drunk and he set the route of the incoming train straight into the track where 06-49 was waiting with its freight train for the crossing. In those days the railway line to Varna was still a single track in that section. The accident of 06-38 was due to a human error too. The shunting brigade did not cleared the end of the freight train and the last freight car remained very close to the switch. The Sulzer enters into the station with its freight train and because the tracks are in a curve they didn`t had enough time to see the danger and collided in this freight car which resulted in the derailment of the 06, several of the freight cars from its own train and about 6 or 7 from the cars from the other train. Most of them were carrying petrolium products and cought fire almost instantly. Luckily they did not exploded and the train crew managed to escape and survive. One of the engineers was badly injured in the crash but survived and continued working for almost 15 years after the crash. The amount of the material damage and costs were great. Here I have uploaded some more photos. I will continue uploading on a regular basis when I have more time.
No train, no fun!19 May 2019 at 6:03 pm #2519
In case of both accidents, the track electric equipment wasn’t failsafe? What i mean is that the track equipment should’ve blocked the entrance signal by not giving a CLEAR indication to let trains enter the station.13 September 2019 at 9:35 pm #3090
Hello and sorry for the late reply. I don
t know about the first crash why it didnt worked. In those days main line №2 was at a poor level as far as signaling and infrastructure is considered. That accident was one of the reasons for the further development of the railways and in a sad way it contributed to the growing investments by the state in the infrastructure and safety improvements. The second accident where the freight train collided in the rear of another train there was no way how the signaling could have prevented that. The fault there was a clear mistake and dissobedience over the safety rules by the shunting brigade. Btw what information do you have on another accident which happened I think in 1985/1986 on the test track in Romania where a prototype of our BDZ Class 46 crashed at full speed into another locomotive which for some reason had entered the test circuit? This accident caused the lifes of Bulgarian officials and Romanian engineers. There is not much information on this crash here and it is engulfed in mistery.
No train, no fun!14 September 2019 at 3:25 pm #3091
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