Steam Train from Vaser Valley - details and images

Often called "Mocăniţa on the Vaserului Valley", the Forest Railway from Vişeu de Sus is located in the north of Romania, on the border with Ukraine and represents a wealth both technically and culturally. On a route of almost 60 kilometers, the circular distance (tourist 21.6 km, Paltin station) - next to Diesel locomotives - to this day steam-powered locomotives with wood, which makes CFF Vişeu de Sus (abbreviated from Forest Railroad) become known in the whole world as the last true steam railway, running on steam. A journey to Comanu station took 5 hours on average, 5 hours back, 10 hours total.

The line, which was built after the Austro-Hungarian 760mm gauge, leads into a valley of enchanting wilderness along the Vaser River. The railway traces an enormous forested area, where there are no roads or villages, but is inhabited only by bears and wolves.

The use of wood resources from the Vaser Valley started from the beginning of the century. XVIII, under the Austro-Hungarian empire. The German-speaking colonists entered the first in the virgin forests and with the help of the float brought the cut wood to the sawmills in Vişeu de Sus.
In 1932 the construction of the Forest Railroad began, which compared to the floating meant a huge technical progress.

Forestry railways were widespread throughout Europe, especially in the Carpathian area. Their principle of operation was simple: following the course of the river, a narrow radius of curves was required (which is why the railway has a narrow gauge); it was so organized that the empty tricks for the wood were pulled by the small locomotives upwards, while the high-load trains descended to the valley, towards the sawmill, only occasionally assisted by locomotives and brakes.

Although in most European countries, at the latest after 1945, the forest railways were replaced with forest roads, in Romania they remained quite long.

In 1970 the public forestry administration was practiced over 3000 km, until 1986 Romania even manufactured new steam locomotives for forestry railways and in 1989 there were still over 15 railways with just over 1000 km of forestry. rail.

Economic changes since the 1990s have had a fatal effect on the national CFFs since then: during several years, all locomotives and wagons made from old or sold iron were removed, dismantled. The only forest railway that still works today is Mocăniţa from Valea Vaserului. It fulfills to date its original purpose of forest rail, wood transport.
The railway operation has been carried out since 2003 by the Romanian company R.G. Holz Company S.R.L., which also owns the surface of the depot and most of the wagons and locomotives. As before, the railway and much of the forests on Vaser Valley are state property.

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