Electric Veterans Between the Small and Large Caucasus

Georgia 21.09. - 04.10.2009

WL22m im Einsatz

Georgia has a fascinating landscape, warm, welcoming people and a railway system which is far from being fully modernised yet. You’ll still find most of the classic Russian electric locomotives, including the, nowadays very rare, class VL22M. These electric dinosaurs from the early age of electrification in the former Soviet Union have only survived in Georgia – but will disappear from the rails soon.





Individual travel to Tiflis. Flights can be booked by FarRail Tours. Meeting in Tiflis (Tbilisi), hotel in Tiflis


Charter bus from Tiflis to Gori. Visit to the narrow gauge railway of the sleeper factory in Gori, followed by a brief visit to the Stalin-Museum with his saloon coach. Afterwards we’ll travel along the main line Tiflis – Poti to Chaschuri. On the way we’ll stop at scenic positions to take pictures of regular trains. Late afternoon visit to the depot in Chaschuri. Hotel in Chaschuri


Charter bus along the branch line to Sacchere, in the morning to Sorapani. In the station is a plinthed narrow gauge loco class Gr. Visit to the railway of the manganese ore mines in Ciatura. The railway uses the classes TEM2 and TEM2U. There is also an interesting rope line. If there is a train to the terminus in Sacchere we’ll follow it with our tour bus. Hotel in Kutaisi.


From Kutaisi and Rioni two northbound branch lines leave the main line and terminate respectively in Chaltubo and Tkibuli. We’ll visit both lines and, in addition, the depot in Kutaisi.

In the afternoon we’ll take pictures of trains passing by on the main line Tiflis – Poti, especially between Rioni and Samtredia. Hotel in Samtredia


Visit to the small depot Samtredia. Via Senaki we’ll continue to Poti on the Black Sea. Along the way we’ll stop for interesting positions and wait for trains to pass by. Poti has an extensive harbour railway where we’ll try to take pictures. In the afternoon we’re leave Poti towards Batumi, our most southerly spot on this tour. Hotel in Batumi


Morning visit to the depot of Batumi and taking pictures of the public urban transport system. In the afternoon we’ll continue to Vale, the terminus of the line from Caschuri. With several stops along the line we’ll continue to Borzomi. From there starts a narrow gauge line to Bakuriani. Hotel in Borzomi or Bakuriani


Morning visit to the narrow gauge depot which is host to many electric locos of class TschS11. After this visit we’ll board our charter train to Bakuriani and return. Many runpasts and pictures of the regular trains passing by. Hotel in Borzomi or Bakuriani


Along the main line from Baku via Tiflis to Poti we’ll take some more pictures. The focus is on the section Tiflis and Mzcheta (the old capital of Georgia). We’ve also planned a visit to the city of Mzcheta, but this depends on the traffic on the main line. Hotel in Mzcheta


An exciting railway section is the line between Mzcheta and Chaschuri. Therefore we’ve planned the full day to take some shots in this region. If there are trains on the branch lines we might follow one of those trains with our charter bus as well. Hotel in Chaschuri.


Linesiding between Chaschuri and Kutaisi. In between is a summit and several positions can only be reached by a walk along the tracks. But it is well worth doing because on this line you can still find the electric dinosaurs, the famous class WL22M! Hotel in Kutaisi


Along the main line we’ll return to Tiflis. Linesiding as usual. Hotel in Mzcheta or Tiflis


Today we’ll visit the mountains of the Greater Caucasus. We’ll see the mountain Kasbegi, at 5,094 m above sea level, the highest mountain in Georgia. Hotel in Kasbegi


Charter bus to Tiflis and visit to the children’s railway, the depot and the locomotive factory of Tiflis. Hotel in Tiflis


Individual return.


Line description

Georgia is surrounded by mountains, the Caucasus. That’s why you’ll find many beautifully situated railway lines in interesting mountain scenery. We want to capture regular trains on the most scenic sections of the lines across the country. In addition we chartered a train on a narrow gauge line where there is no road access.


Due to the difficult operation on long gradients the railway lines in the Caucasus were among the first railways to be electrified under in the era of the Soviet Union. Today we still find many Russian classes of locomotives. Almost certainly we’ll see the WL8, WL10, WL11, WL22M, the Czech built TschS6 and the electric railcars class Er2. Because there have been many configurations and major improvements, we’ll see quite a lot of different variations. The colour scheme is all but boring as well.

Besides the “magistrala” (most important main lines) from Baku via Tiflis to Poti we’ll also visit most of the branch lines. Some of the industrial railways will be visited as well. Only in Georgia can you still find the old, boxy class VL22M in public service. These compact electrics are almost extinct, even in Georgia, but there are still a few of their class which can be photographed with passenger and freight trains. It’s almost certain that the last examples will be withdrawn soon.

The electric operated narrow gauge railway from Borzomi to Bakuriani is another highlight of the tour. Because it’s not possible to get to the most scenic sections by road we’ll charter a train. We’ve planned several photo stops and runpasts along the line. Our train will run both ways.


Because we’ve planned linesiding on many days in hilly and mountainous terrain it’s recommended that you wear good shoes. Several positions require some walking and not everywhere has a path leading to the best spot. We’ll also visit several depots and workshops for the number collectors and those who like standard shots in depots.


Small Print

In 2008 we had to cancel our planned trip due to the military conflict. The short war is over now and life is back to normal. There are democratic moves and politicians are looking into the background of the war. Some demonstrations have taken place, however, the situation for tourists is calm and safe. The people are warm and welcoming toward strangers, even in the big cities. Our partners in Georgia have assured us that nothing has changed for tourists.

We’ve booked medium class hotels and sometimes privately owned accommodation in smaller places.



VL22M and other electric Dinosaurs 10 to 30 participants £2,250
21.09.2009 – 04.10.2009 Single room surcharge £230
Registration Deadline: 15.05.2009

The price includes

Not in included are



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