Steam to Smolonice
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To get to the Sudbahnhof, we took the route that our hotel manager had suggested (U-bahn and S-bahn), and got there in plenty of time. Dewi went looking for information about which platform we'd be leaving from, while Eufron had already found out.
The "special" was actually six "Nostalgie" cars at the head of the regular train. We had assigned seats at the end of car no. 6. The folding doors on these cars suggested Swiss ancestry (see my 1947 photos) and indeed I found a manufacturer's plate that confirmed this.
As far as Bratislava it was a normal trip. Our passports were inspected at the border, with no delay. It turned out to be a very hot day, and we had the windows wide open.
Once the "Albatross", a huge black (or maybe very dark blue) 4-8-2 loco, was attached, we had a very fast run into Slovakia. One thing we'd forgotten about steam trains, and especially with hard-working locomotives, was that in addition to the smoke, tiny particles of soot and coal came in through the windows! We were forever dusting ourselves off.
There was a photo-stop. I'd been expecting the sort of thing I'd heard about on steam trips in Canada and the UK: the train would stop to allow photographers to disembark, then back up and make a forward run, generally with safety valves blowing off steam, for the benefit of video-cameras. Not so: it was a static stop, and could hardly have been in a worse place, alongside a big tank car that prevented photography from the side. Until now, the engine had been running tender-first, so we got pictures of the hind three-quarters.
When we started off again, the crew (volunteers from the "Albatros Klub") served lunch at our seats: soup, followed by schnitzel. I fear that the schnitzel would not have won culinary awards..
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photos by email, if needed.