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The Rodope Narrow-gauge Railway

Beautiful autumn scenery and loud diesel sound in Bulgaria.

The BDŽ 300  014 seen  picture

The BDŽ 300 014 seen between Belovo and Septemvri on the bridge of the river Maritsa (Марица)

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Tags: BDZ Desiro Bulgária

Most people don't know much about Bulgaria or the Bulgarian Railways. The first line opened in 1864, when the area was very much a part of the Ottoman Empire, and ran between the Romanian border of Ruse and the seaside city of Varna. Currently over 70% of the railways are electrified, main lines are often double track and conditions are relatively favourable.

The BDŽ 43 535-1 seen  photo

The BDŽ 43 535-1 seen between Kostenets and Belovo

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Tags: 591 Kostenets Belovo BDZ-Plechac Bulgária

The BDŽ 43  535-1 and  photo

The BDŽ 43 535-1 and the 46 235 seen at Septemvri

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Tags: 592 591 Септември Septemvri BDZ-ASEA Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Septemvri and Pamporovo

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Tags: 592 Септември Septemvri Пампорово Pamporovo Henschel Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony Bulgária

In most countries narrow-gauge railways have changed a lot in the past fifty years. In many cases they have completely dissappeared (like in Bosnia or partly in Austria and Romania ), or have become entirely tourist railways (like in Hungary ), or have become more tram-like, rapid-transit systems with electrification and modern multiple units (like in most of Switzerland ). However the Septemvri-Dobrinishte railway remained as it was many years ago, mostly locally used, being the connection of an enclosed area to the world, and only attracting a few tourists of the daring type. Organizing a trip here was rather complicated though. I don't know many people who are at least interested in it, and some of them are repelled by the fact that only five trains run a day, presumably extremely limiting the photo opportunities. Finally I managed to get the people on this trip and I can tell you in advance that going to Septemvri and going that part of the year was our best decision!

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Tsepina and Pamporovo

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Tags: 592 Марко Николов Marko Nikolov Цепина Tsepina Henschel Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony Bulgária

As opposed to Romania, where speed limits even on electrified mainlines may be as low as 20 to 40 km/h Bulgarian railways have quite good speeds with trains mostly travelling as fast as the terrain allows for. The narrow-gauge trains also reach a speed of about 60 km/h, and they maintain it along most of the route, but they can't do that in the gorges and loops, making the 125 km journey last about five hours. Trains were mostly punctual, this photo was the only one we took because trains were delayed (actually it allowed us one or two additional photos than we planned).

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Marko Nikolov and Tsepina

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Tags: 592 Марко Николов Marko Nikolov Цепина Tsepina Henschel Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony Bulgária

It is hard to tell which is the most spectacular part of the railway, especially since during this trip we didn't have the chance to travel on the railway, but the gorge of the Chepinska river between Varvara and Dolene is certainly in the top. This first section of the railway between Sarambey and Ladzhene (now Septemvri and a part of Velingrad) immediately had to face this challenging terrain after the few kilometre long stretch on the grassland of the Upper Thrakian Plain, meaning that when the military decided that a railway was needed in this part of Bulgarian during the First World War they had to wait until 1920 until the construction could actually start and until 1926 for the first section to start operating. A short extension to Chepino (the current Velingrad Yug) was opened in 1927 and the now-dismantled branch to Pazardzhik in 1928. The further opening dates were 1937 for Chepino-Yakoruda, 1939 for Yakoruda-Belitsa, 1943 for Belitsa-Bansko and 1945 for Bansko-Dobrinishte. The rest of the planned railway to Golch Deltsev was never constructed.

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen at Kostandovo

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Tags: 592 Костандово Kostandovo Henschel Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony Bulgária

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Velingrad and Velingrad jug

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Tags: 592 Велинград Velingrad Велинград-Юг Velingrad-Jug Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen between Ostrets and Velingrad jug

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Tags: 592 Велинград-Юг Velingrad-Jug Острец Ostrets Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Velingrad jug and Ostrets

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Tags: 592 Велинград-Юг Velingrad-Jug Острец Ostrets Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Avramovo and Smolevo

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Tags: 592 Аврамово Avramovo Смолево Smolevo Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Smolevo and Cherna Mesta

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Tags: 592 Смолево Smolevo Черна Места Cherna Mesta 35. alagút Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The Pomaks make up the majority of Cherna Mesta, a muslim ethnic group with strong turc ancestry. The train is already on its Southern ramp, past Avramovo from where it rejoins the road and follows a mild descent in the ever widening valley of the Mesta river, but first has to pass two spirals to lengthen the path of descent.

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Smolevo and Cherna Mesta

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Tags: 592 Смолево Smolevo Черна Места Cherna Mesta 35. alagút Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen at Yakoruda

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Tags: 592 Якоруда Yakoruda Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen at Yakoruda

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Tags: 592 Якоруда Yakoruda Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

Zil lorry at Yakoruda photo

Zil lorry at Yakoruda

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Tags: Bulgaria

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen at Yakoruda

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Tags: 592 Якоруда Yakoruda Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Yurukovo and Daganovo

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Tags: 592 Юруково Yurukovo Дагоново Daganovo Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between General Kovachev and Belitsa

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Tags: 592 Генерал Ковачев General Kovachev Гулийна баня Guliyna Banya Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Razlog and Bansko

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Tags: 592 Разлог Razlog Банско Bansko Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Razlog and Bansko

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Tags: 592 Разлог Razlog Банско Bansko Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Sveti Georgi and Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Свети Георги Sveti Georgi Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Sveti Georgi and Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Свети Георги Sveti Georgi Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen at Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen at Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen at Sveti Georgi

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Tags: 592 Свети Георги Sveti Georgi Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen at Sveti Georgi

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Tags: 592 Свети Георги Sveti Georgi Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  005-9 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen between Sveti Georgi and Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko Свети Георги Sveti Georgi Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Sveti Georgi and Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Sveti Georgi Свети Георги Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen at Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen at Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at  photo

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko narrow Bulgária szobormozdony

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at  photo

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko narrow Bulgária szobormozdony

The BDŽ 504  76 seen a photo

The BDŽ 504 76 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko narrow Bulgária

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at  picture

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko keskeny Bulgária szobormozdony

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at  photo

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at  picture

The BDŽ 82 01 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Razlog and Guliyna Banya

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Tags: 592 Гулийна баня Guliyna Banya Разлог Razlog Henschel Bulgária Balkán kisvasút dízelmozdony

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Smolevo and Cherna Mesta

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Tags: 592 Смолево Smolevo Черна Места Cherna Mesta 35. alagút Henschel Bulgária dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Cherna Mesta and Yakoruda

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Tags: 592 Черна Места Cherna Mesta Якоруда Yakoruda Henschel Bulgária dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Yakoruda and Yurukovo

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Tags: 592 Якоруда Yakoruda Юруково Yurukovo Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Yurukovo and Daganovo

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Tags: 592 Юруково Yurukovo Дагоново Daganovo Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Guliyna Banya and Razlog

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Tags: 592 Гулийна баня Guliyna Banya Разлог Razlog Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Bansko and Sveti Georgi

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko Свети Георги Sveti Georgi Henschel Bulgária dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Bansko and Sveti Georgi

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko Свети Георги Sveti Georgi Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75  006-7 seen photo

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen at Dobrinishte

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Tags: 592 Добринище Dobrinishte Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 77 002-4 seen  picture

The BDŽ 77 002-4 seen between Smolevo and Cherna Mesta

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Tags: 592 Смолево Smolevo Черна Места Cherna Mesta 34. alagút Faur Bulgária hurokforduló

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen between Cherna Mesta and Smolevo

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Tags: 592 Смолево Smolevo Черна Места Cherna Mesta 34. alagút 35. alagút Henschel Balkán dízelmozdony kisvasút hurokforduló Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen at Avramovo

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Tags: 592 Аврамово Avramovo Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 008-3 seen between Ostrets and Velingrad yug

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Tags: 592 Велинград-Юг Velingrad-Jug Острец Ostrets Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 008-3 at Ve photo

The BDŽ 75 008-3 at Velingrad station

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Tags: 592 Велинград Velingrad Henschel Balkán dízelmozdony kisvasút Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 008-3 at Ve photo

The BDŽ 75 008-3 at Velingrad station

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Tags: 592 Велинград Velingrad Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ narrow-gauge t photo

The BDŽ narrow-gauge tamper machine at Velingrad

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Tags: 592 Велинград Velingrad narrow Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen at Velingrad station in the evening

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Tags: 592 Велинград Velingrad Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen at Avramovo

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Tags: 592 Аврамово Avramovo Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 77 002-4 FAUR  photo

The BDŽ 77 002-4 FAUR locomotive seen at Yakoruda at a starry night

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Tags: 592 Якоруда Yakoruda Faur Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen at Yurukovo on a starry night

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Tags: 592 Юруково Yurukovo Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 005-9 seen at Bansko

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Tags: 592 Банско Bansko Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen between Velingrad and Kostandovo

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Tags: 592 Костандово Kostandovo Велинград Velingrad Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 006-7 seen between Tsepina and Dolene

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Tags: 592 Цепина Tsepina Долене Dolene Chepinska Henschel dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán Bulgária

If you enjoy the pictures and would like to be part of a community interested in Mountain Railways, join us at our new Facebook group! I hope to develop it into a colourful international group for learning about viaducts, tunnels and astonishing landscapes from all around the world.

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen between Tsepina and Marko Nikolov

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Tags: 592 Марко Николов Marko Nikolov Цепина Tsepina Henschel kisvasút dízelmozdony Bulgária Balkán

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  picture

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen between Tsepina and Marko Nikolov

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Tags: 592 Марко Николов Marko Nikolov Цепина Tsepina Henschel Bulgária dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen between Pamporovo and Septemvri

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Tags: 592 Септември Septemvri Пампорово Pamporovo Henschel Bulgária dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán

The BDŽ 44 130-0 seen  photo

The BDŽ 44 130-0 seen at Septemvri

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Tags: 592 591 Септември Septemvri BDZ-Plechac Bulgária

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen at Septemvri

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Tags: 592 591 Септември Septemvri Henschel Bulgária dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen  photo

The BDŽ 75 004-2 seen at Septemvri

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Tags: 592 591 Септември Septemvri Henschel Bulgária dízelmozdony kisvasút Balkán

In extra trains you can enc photo

In extra trains you can encounter a buffet car

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Tags: narrow Bulgária ASEA

The BDŽ 71 002-0 seen  picture

The BDŽ 71 002-0 seen at Septemvri

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Tags: 592 591 Септември Septemvri TU7 Bulgária

The best known product of the Kambarka Engineering Works of the Soviet Union is an interesting piece of equipment at the Septemvri to Dobrinishte Rodope Narrow-gauge Railway as it shunts with the passenger cars. Similar locomotives operate at many other Eastern railway, I have photos from Berehovo where, I believe, they never entered service after delivery:

The BDŽ 71 002-0 seen  photo

The BDŽ 71 002-0 seen at Septemvri

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Tags: 592 591 Септември Septemvri TU7 Bulgária

An unidentified BDŽ 44 picture

An unidentified BDŽ 44 seen between Vlado Trichkov and Kurilo

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Tags: 590 Kurilo Vlado Trichkov BDZ-Plehács Bulgária

An unidentified BDŽ 44 picture

An unidentified BDŽ 44 seen between Kurilo and Vlado Trichkov

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Tags: 590 Kurilo Vlado Trichkov BDZ-Plehács Bulgária

The BDŽ 30 023 seen be photo

The BDŽ 30 023 seen between Svoge and Thompson

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Tags: 590 Thompson Svoge BDZ Desiro Bulgária

The BDŽ 44 082 seen be picture

The BDŽ 44 082 seen between Svoge and Thompson

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Tags: 590 Thompson Svoge BDZ-Plehács Bulgária

The BDŽ 0432  120 seen picture

The BDŽ 0432 120 seen between Montana and Bojchinovci

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Tags: 518 Bojchinovci Montana BDZ Elektricska Bulgária

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