ItinerariesThursday 13 September 2018

Mocăniţa - the last forestry steam train of Europe

The train crosses a part of the Natural Park of the Mountains of Maramureş, a beautiful wilderness area, where there are no roads or villages, but only nature, wolves, bears, and ...

Mocanita - Vaser Valley - Maramures

Mocanita - Vaser Valley - Maramures

The Mocăniţa  from Vişeu de Sus is the last forestry steam train left in the world.It was built in 1932 according to the Austro-Hungarian model, with narrow gauge (760 mm) and it connects Vişeu de Sus to Comanu, crossing all the Vaser Valley.

At the beginning of '900, forestry trains were being built all over Europe, especially in mountainous areas, usually along a flowing watercourse. It functioned according a very simple system, namely: uphill, the train pulled the empty wagons, while downhill the wagons slide alone and the locomotive regulated their speed.

After the Second World War, most countries have replaced these forestry trains whit roads, but in Romania have worked still for a while. From 1932 until today the forestry train worked almost continuously. In 1989 there were still 15 forest train tracks with over 1,000 miles of track.

After the changes in the '90s, among all existing forest train tracks only the Mocăniţa  the Vaser Valley is left, which even today plays its initial purpose of forest railway line, namely for the transport of wood.   After 2000 the Mocăniţa was rehabilitated thanks to the aid of Swiss association "Hilfe für die Wassertalbahn".

Part of the old locomotives was refurbished and has been bought new carriages for the persons transport, and the station building of Vişeu de Sus has been completely renovated. Since 2005, four steam locomotives are functional, named Elveţia, Cozia, Măriuţa, Krauss, which drive the carriages for the transport of people doing the tour that runs through the Vaser Valley, now part of the Natural Park of the Mountains of Maramureş.

Train schedules are well defined on the basis of the tourist seasons and the demands of organized groups. The duration of the trip is about five hours, including a stop for lunch in Paltin, surrounded by the fairytale landscape of the Maramureş area.

If you happen to be in the area, do not leave without making a trip with the Mocăniţa of the Vaser Valley, because it is the only chance you have to take a journey through time, in a world full of wondrous magic.

For more information see the official site: www.cffviseu.com .

D.K.

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