Holding Bulgarian State Railways EAD will provide two additional trains with a steam locomotive between Sofia and Bankya during the weekend

Due to the increased interest to the steam locomotive of series 01.23, Holding Bulgarian State Railways EAD will provide two additional trains on the line between Sofia and Bankya which will be serviced by the retro locomotive.

The additional trains will run during the weekend 2 April and 3 April 2011, to provide the opportunity for all people who are keen on the steam machine. The compositions of these trains will consist of a total of seven railcars, two first-class and five second-class. The additional train from Sofia to Bankya will depart at 10:00 hrs from Sofia Central Station, and from Bankya to Sofia it will depart at 11:15 hrs.

On an initiative of the national railway carrier to popularize the historical heritage of the Bulgarian railways, from 21 March 2011 the steam locomotive of series 01.23 runs on an everyday basis as part of the composition of the suburban train from Sofia to Bankya, departing from Sofia station at 12:10 hrs. On the way back the retro machine travels as part of the composition of the suburban passenger train from Bankya to Sofia, departing from Bankya station at 14:05 hrs.

Every BDZ client can use the opportunity to travel with the trains at the regular price on this line, the fare is only BGN 0.80 (EUR 0.4). Tickets can be obtained from the cashiers desks at Sofia Central Station, and Bankya Station.

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The steam locomotive of series 01.23 was manufactured at the SLM Winterthur locomotive factory, Switzerland, in 1935 and is a representative of the most widespread type of fast locomotives in the history of the Bulgarian railways. This locomotive is an exhibit of the Railway Heritage museum collection of Holding Bulgarian State Railways EAD. It was restored for operation at the Locomotive Depot in Sofia in 2003 and is used for fancy travels, jubilee and touristic trips as well as for participation in film productions.

In 1979, the steam locomotive of series 01.23 (the last engine of those of series 01) was chosen to become a museum exhibit. In 1988, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Railway Traction Unit and the Sofia Depot, 01.23 was restored as a functioning museum BDZ locomotive. On 20 September 1989, the locomotive serviced the Orient Express train on its passage through Bulgaria.

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