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Today's route: Sarajevo - Čapljina - Metković (Croatia) - Ploče; taxi to Split; Split - Perković - Šibenik - Perković - Knin.
Stock for train 391 was three ex-SJ coaches donated by Swedish Railways. Sat in the first class again with no problems. 441-404 was in the "new" ŽFBH livery of green and two-tone blue (see photo at Doboj from later in the trip). Very scenic as far as Mostar, especially around Konjic. Several views of the old narrow gauge alignment. The HŽ web site had said that engineering works would close the line between Metković and Ploče during the daytime on certain periods this summer, but we would be OK today; indeed, there had been track relaying in progress, there was a severe speed restriction, and there were Italian vehicles at Ploče - including two (presumably ex-ČD) T448s. We had intended to try to get a bus from Ploče to Split but initial enquiries showed the first, at least, to be full. There were five people travelling (one with a lot of baggage) so we took option 2 which was two taxis. There seemed to be a standard fare of EUR110 for the about-110km journey so we shared this out as EUR44 per person. Though not cheap we all had agreed that this was a viable option - a huge time saving as the alternative was all the way back via Sarajevo. Also, travelling this way after the main trip was not an option because of the engineering works mentioned. Two fine runs behind 2062s followed, with the short branch to Šibenik fitted in between - just two of us, the other having gone straight to Knin. If the two English enthusiasts that were on train 5504 read this, I would like to apologise to them for being rather rude about their suggestion that I was only there for the haulage! Perković has a bar near the station, which was useful with two hours to kill. This would have been longer had it not been for train 1820 which happened to run today. This dated car-sleeper train is allowed 98 minutes for Perković to Knin "non-stop", whereas the all-stations local services are only allowed about 70 minutes: it waits as required to cross two other trains, including IC521 which was very late - I am sure we could have crossed it at Knin rather than waiting 31 minutes for it at Kosovo. We were the only people to get off (and possibly on) at Knin, where we stopped on what was effectively a goods line rather than a platform track. We had been advised to get a taxi from Knin station to the group's hotel, but having waited a while with no sign of one, we found that the group leader had found a local resident to ferry us there!