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LAST UPDATED
28/ 12/ 2013



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Steam in the Forests of Romania
The forests of the Romanian Carpathians were home to numerous raillways
- Caile Ferate Forestiere (CFF) - only one remains working!




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CFF 764.469 0-8-0T (Resita B393/1955) emerging from one of the tunnels
with a a train to Stavioara in May 1999. This was the regular locomotive at the time
having been overhauled at Cluj (16 Februarie) during winter 1998-99.



These pages offer a host of information for railway enthusiasts and railway travellers. Rail tickets and also tailor-made tours and arrangements for groups or individuals, including special trains can be orgabised through our recommended agents.

The Carpathians Mountains of Romania were once criss-crossed by the lines of forest railways. Narrow gauge railes could be laid along valleys in mountainous regions to transport hewn timber which was too heavy to bring out from the forests by any other means. Even after the 1989 Revolution there were still over 40 systems working in Romania from the Danube at Berzeasca right through the horseshow of the Carpathians east and north to Bucovina and Maramures. There were large systems at Margina near Târgu Jiu, at Covasna-Comadau and many othr places in the eastern Carpathians, and in the Bucovina where maps as late as the 1980s seemed to have more squiggly rail lines than road! However, the most famous is perhaps the last still working as a genuine forest raily - the Vaser Valley Railway at Viseu de Sus in the Maramures which stretches over 40 km up to the border with the Ukraine. This line is now shared with a preservation group which provides a summer tourist service. Other fledgling groups are struggling to bring back trains at Covasna-Comadau which had a fascinating inclned plain, and at Moldovita. However progress is slow, and often hampered by flooding of indiscriminate deforestation.

Typical of the CFF forest railways were the Resita and Budapest 4-axle steam locomotives, specially adapted forn the lightly laid, uneven tracks, sharp curves and steep gradients. there were the workhorses right until the end. Diesels were used on some systems but they were often found to be unsuitable to the conditions, though Viseu de Sus now uses them for many works trains. The forest railways were far more than just a mode of transport, they were a way of life taking the lumberjacks up to their camps on a monday and bringing them back at the weekend. The little engine affectionately known as theb 'Mocanita' was a true life line. It could take water from any stream or pool, and on the frequent occurence when it became derailed the crew could often get the train back on teh rails again in a matter of minutes.

Please refer to our Maramures section or email us NOW for holidays incorporating the Vaser Valley Railway (CFF Viseu de Sus) that also help to preserve amd sustain the railway. These include special photo weeks run specifically for enthusiasts and photographers during the year, and sometimes also in the winter, and also our rural Maramures holidays which can include a day on the Vaser Valley Railway, and also a ride of the spectacular Setref Pass on the main line from Viseu de Jos to Salva, without a doubt one of the most scenic journeys in Eastern Europe. See below for further travel advice.

Severe flooding along the border with Ukraine on 25-26 July 2008 caused considerable damage in Maramures.Funds were allocated to rebuilding houses washed away in Maramures and Suceava Counties. One of the worst hit areas was the Vaser Valley where large sections of trackbed and bridges were lost to floodwaters. A campaign was established to raise funds to reopen the line which is not only unique as the last remaining true steam-hauled forestry railway, but is an essential lifeline to the people and communities of this remote mountain valley. The tracks were repaired including bridges that were washed out and a full tourist service was reinstated by Summer 2009. This is just one example of the obstacles that are being overcome to sustain the Vaser Valley Railway. For further information please see:
www.cffviseu.ro/





Narrow Gauge in Romania


FORESTRY RAILWAYS



Viseu de Sus
Moldovita
Covasna-Comandau


PRESERVED STEAM &
RAILWAY MUSEUMS


Sibiu Museum
Resita Museum
Subcetate
Locomotive Lists


CFR
NARROW GAUGE


Târgu Mures System
Turda-Abrud
Sibiu-Agnita


INDUSTRIAL LINES



Hunedoara
Brad - Criscior
Sotanga & Fieni (near Targoviste)
Govora (Near Ramnicu Valcea)
Lonea (Petrosani area)
Mining Railways of the Rodna Mountains
Turda Cement


RAILWAYS TODAY



Scenic Railways
Branch Lines
Diesels & Electrics


TRAMWAYS



Timisoara & Museum
Arad & Pâncota
Sibiu - Rasinari
Oradea, Cluj, Botosani, Iasi
Resita, Craiova, Ploiesti, Braila
Bucharest, Galati





Viseu de Sus Vaser Valley Railway
(Formerly CFF, then Viseuforest, and R.G. Holz)

Viseu de Sus, close to the Ukraine border, in the Maramures is the only remaining, working narrow gauge forestry railway of many that were constructed to transport timber from the vast, remote forests of the Carpathians and their foothills. This 760mm gauge forestry system starts at the timber yards and sawmill to the north of this town with a long tradition of woodworking and logging. The railway climbs for 41km following the often very narrow Vaser valley deep into the forests of the Maramures mountains to the tiny hamlet of Coman.



Logs were originally floated down the river aided by a series of sluices which were used to regulate the flow and level of the river. The railway was constructed in 1932 and follows a course which soon becomes little more than a ledge above the river, and in one place there are a series of short tunnels. A 13km branch from Novat following the Novatului Valley, often refered to as the Ihoasa branch, was constructed in 1952, and was recently partly reopened following flood damage. Short spurs lead into the forest from the lumberjack hamlet at Faina and at Stavioara. There is also a transfer facility with a standard gauge siding connected to the former CFR line from Viseu de Jos to Borsa. A preserved CFR class 150 steam locomotive was brought to the woodyard as a static exhibit in 2010,

Most forestry systems employed 0-8-0T steam locomotives to similar designs by Budapest, Krauss, O&K and others, and after the Second World War a very successful Resita design with flexible Klein-Lindner axles which spread the weight verty efficiently. A further batch were built by the Reghin works to the same design during the 1980s. Viseu de Sus has operated mainly Resita locomotives, but also Budapest, and recently a Reghin locomotives over the last two decades. Three relatively large L45H Bo-Bo diesels came in the 1980s (two from the former CFF Sighet system and a third from an industrial concern at Bicaz), but were really too heavy for the lightly laid forestry line and during wet periods damaged the tracks.




Reghin 0-8-0T 764.408R ("Cozia 1") of R.G.Holz
shunts timber bolsters at Stavioara in October 2002





Like many of these lines, trains would leave Viseu at dawn, dropping off foresters and bolster wagons at various sidings along the line, then return in the afternoon collecting felled timber. The Monday morning trains were always the most numerous as they also carried lumberjacks to their camps where they would stay and work during the week. Viseu one of only a few systems that also operated a passenger service using carriages and Unio railcars ('automotoare').

This has always been difficult work and it is not unusual for trains to become derailed or lines to be blocked by landslides. The foresters have their own methods to deal quickly and effectively with these problems and in the winter snowploughs are used to clear lines. The biggest risk is that of flooding, especially when the snow melts in Spring. There have been many cases of trackbed and bridges being washed away and consequent threats to the viability of the railway. This was often the fate of other systems together with the arrival of road transport in less remote regions. In the case of Viseu, the construction of a forest road would have been costly and extremely difficult so the railway survived. Operations declined during the 1990s from having four working locomotives in 1990 to just one usually working by the end of the decade.




764.211 'Mariuta' (O&K 3980/1910) with a special train leaving Novicior in the Vaser Valley. This is a preserved locomotive used for tourist trains (May, 2007)





The CFF was privatised in 1999 and operations were shared between 'Viseuforest' which occupied the former shed and workshops, and a private Swedish-owned company, 'R.G.Holz' which established sidings and facilities about 1km further along the line and brough in two former CFF diesels and a steam locomotive, built as recently as 1985 by Reghin to Resita designs, and fully overhauled at 16 Februarie, Cluj and delivered to Viseu in 2001. At the same time a dedicated group of enthusiasts from Switzerland became involved in the preservation and running of the railway. The
'Wassertalbahn' group has subsequently been influential in rejuvenating the railway, and establishing projects to attract enthusiasts and tourists with a view to increasing employment in the valley. Working parties have been involved in track maintenance, in particular the rebuilding of a large section of trackbed near Novat which was severly damaged by winter floods in 2001, and again in Summer 2009.



764.211 'Mariuta' (O&K 3980/1910) & 764.421 'Elvetia' (Resita 1125/1954)
with special trains at Botizu





Operations were merged under the one company, R.G. Holz in 2003, at which time they also tried to reopen operations at Moldovita. Timber traffic has continued to rise through the decade and there are now at least two daily trains, usually steam-hauled, one of them to Coman or Stavioara departing at 06:00, and the other to Faina or the Uhoasa branch at 06:30-07:30. There may be additional trains including 'automotors'. Two locomotives have arrived from the former CFF system at Moldovita, the Resita 0-8-0T in 2003, the historic Krauss 0-6-0T 763.193 in 2004, and there is presently a project to renovate 1910 O&K locomotive 764.211 from CFF Berzeasca which spent a number of years standing in the open at the village museum in Bucharest.

764.211 entered service in 2005, and was joined by preserved Resita 764.421 for tourist trains which were inaugurated in Summer 2007 using the passenger stock. Theje railway was badly damaged by floods during 2007 where ione of the bridges was washed out. A major campaign set about repairing the railway, partly funded by the preservation society. Tourist trains are working to Faina during the summer months while works trains using mainly the diesels are working the main line towards Coman, and also on the reopened branch to Ihoasa.



Locomotive 764.469 0-8-0T (Resita B393/1955) shunts the yards
in front of the sawmill at Viseu de Sus in November 1999






UPDATE 2014: following a busy year for 2013 there will be a full tourist service on the Vaser Valley Railway for 2014. Day trips can be arranged with Maramures holidays or alternatively specific breaks based around the railway can be organised using excellent local pensions beside the railway or the Carpathia Express Hotel, a hotel in restored sleeping carriages at Viseu de Sus. We can easily arrange a short stay usung WIZZ flights to Cluj, transfers via Dej with a visit to the excellent mainline collection, and a couple of days to ride and explore the forest railway. Subject to timetabling we may be able to arrange a ride on the scenic railway over the Setref Pass though daytime services were cut on 2013. In addition we can also charter private trains on the Vaser Valley line for the stretch from Viseu de Sus to Paltin (21.6km) , with photo stops and a capacity of up to 170 passengers. Please contact us for details. Plenty notice required, especially during the summer. Additional photo weekends are also arranged during the year for enthusiasts.





Details of Locomotives at Viseu de Sus (as at 2008):


Narrow gauge steam locomotives:
763.193 0-6-0T Krauss (Linz) 1219/1921; ex CFF Moldovita in 2004, historic locomotive in use for special trains
764.211 ("Mariuta") 0-8-0T O&K 3980/1910; ex CFF Margina, then CFF Berzeasca, rescued from the Village Museum in Bucharest and carefully restored at 16 Februarie, Cluj as an active museum locomotive for the 'Wassertalbahn" Group; used regularly on tourist trains.
764.313 0-8-0T Budapest 4680/1921 CFF Out Of Use; outside depot and recently given a coat of paint; candidate for preservation
764.355 0-8-0T Budapest 5862/1949 CFF - Scrapped 1999-2000
764.408R ("Cozia 1") 0-8-01954 CFF Viseu de Sus; working locomotive
764.421 0-8-0T ("Elvetia") Resita 1126/1954 CFF Viseu de Sus; preserved working loco, ex.Margina; enterred service with Wassertalbahn in
2006
764.436 0-8-0T Resita 1141/1954 CFF Viseu de Sus; pending repairs
764.449 ("Cozia 2") 0-8-0T Resita 1188/1955 CFF; ex.CFF Moldovita in 2003; withdrawn pending repairs
764.452 0-8-0T Resita 1191/1955 CFF Viseu de Sus; withdrawn pending repairs
764.457 0-8-0T Resita B379/1955 CFF Viseu de Sus from 1990; withdrawn pending repairs
764.469 0-8-0T Resita B393/1955 CFF Viseu de Sus; working loco, overhauled at Cluj (16 Februarie) in1999
764.484 0-8-0T Resita 1459/1958 CFF Viseu de Sus; overhauled at 16 Februarie, Cluj in 1994; withdrawn pending repairs

Note: the following privately preserved locomotive has recently visited Viseu: 764.431 0-8-0T Resita 1136/1954; ex CFF Curtea de Arges, and CFF Toplita


Narrow gauge Diesels:
L45H.053 B’B’dh U23Aug 22179/74 CFF Pending installation of new engine; ex CLA Bicaz; current status unknown
87.0033 B’B’dh U23Aug 22176/74 CFF Working locomotive; ex CFR Sighet
87.0032 B’B’dh U23Aug 22166/74 CFF Out of use; ex CFR Sighet (used for spares)

L18H.001 C'dh U23Aug 24828/85 acquired in 1999 by R.J.Holz; ex CFF Stilpeni; named "Ecaterina"
L18H.003 C'dh U23Aug acquired in 1999; by R.J.Holz; ex CFF Tismana


2 x Automotor Satu Mare (1958/60) CFF One fully overhauled 9/1999; both recently refurbished again; one painted green and one blue
Also several VW, TV, Carpati & Aro draisines; and out of use Unio coaches
Two diesels ex CFF Moldovita withdrawn in the yard


Standard Gauge diesels:
LDH25.065 B-dm U23Aug 21532/72 - CFI SC Somes SA, Dej
LDH45.174 B-dm U23Aug 1972 - CFF





VISEU DE SUS: left to right; top to bottom:
L45H Diesel energing from the Novat Valley (Ihoasa) branch; Automotor and two locomotives being prepared for work at Viseu in 1994; L45H diesel with a loaded train approaching Valea Scradei in 1999;
764.469 the working locomotive in 1999, with a heavy timber train a[pproaching Valea Scradei; Derailment near Valea Scradei; Resita 764.463 heads a train up the valley in autumn 1996.






The name "Wassertalbahn"
is German for
"Vaser Valley Railway".
The region of the Vaser
("Wasser" = Water) Valley
is an enclave of the
German-speaking Zipsers
who originally came
from a region of
Upper Austria and Slovakia
and settled here
in the 1700-1800s


Wassertalbahn Vaser Valley Railway

Established by Michael Schneeberger in 1999, the "Wassertalbahn" group have been instrumental in the
preservation of the forestry railway at Viseu de Sus. They have also been proactive in the promotion of the railway as an
effective eco-tourism project creating, and protecting employment for local people in the Vaser Valley
both in tourism and through maintaining the original purpose of the railway.

Special steam events ("Plandampf") are being promoted with several steam locomotives operating
special trains including photo specials. Daily tourist trains began operating in summer 2007.
We will keep you informed of future events.
Travel and accommodation can be organised for these events or for visits to Viseu de Sus at any other time.

Please refer to the
Wassertalbahn website for recent photographs and to see how you can help .





Travel Advice

Viseu de Sus is easily reached from the CFR mainline railway station at Viseu de Jos. There is a convenient day time train from Cluj via the Setreg Pass (5 hours) which connects with the WIZZ flight from Luton. There is also a return overnight sleeper train from Bucharest Nord via Viseu de Jos to Sighetu Marmatiei. Sleeping cars on this service are comfortable ex Danish DSB cars. There are also other day time trains to and from Cluj and to the juction at Salva with connections for Timisoara, Arad, Oradea, Vatra Dornei, Suceava and Iasi. There are local buses and taxis from the forecourt of Viseu de Jos station to Viseu de Sus.

Contact our recommended agents for road transfers from Sighetu Marmatiei, Salva or Bistrita, and day trips to the railway from rural accommodation in Botiza - please also refer to our Maramures pages. Viseu can be included as part of tailor-made guided or semi-independent holidays and decent local accommodation is now avaialble in Viseu de Sus. Viseu de Sus is easily combined as a short package in combination with flights to Cluj and the spectacula rail journey over the Setref Pass or as part of a much longer itinerary - a Maramures holiday, or a link between Maramures and the Painted Monasteries of Bucovina, or a Dracula Trail taking in the 'Borgo' Pass of northern Transylvania. There are also plebty of other attractions around Viseu. For example the Rodnei Mountains above nearby Borsa, or a trek from the railway itself from the upper valley at Catarama or Sevioara (work trains only) over to Borsa. But take care, this is very much wolf and bear country.





Useful Links

Wassertalbahn - preservation group (see below); site contains excellent photographs, events and progress updates (in German); plus restoration project for 764.211
CFF Viseu - excellent selection of quality photographs and video clips
Mocanita.ro - Daniel Sacarescu's excellent photos and video clips






763.193 Krauss-Linz 1219/1921 0-6-0T in the shed at Viseu (ex Moldovita) / 764.211 'Mariuta' (O&K 3980/1910) & 764.421 'Elvetia' (Resita 1125/1954) with special trains at Faina / Resita 764.484 gleaming from overhaul at 19 Februarie works in Cluj, arrives at Novat in 1994 / O&K 764.211 at one of the tunnels





Covasna-Comandau

This well-known system is divided into two levels by a unique inclined plane and was one of several forestry railway systems that were built to exploit the rich forests of the eastern Carpathiains. The lower level connected the system to a furniture factory and an exchange facility with the standard gauge MÁV, later CFR, railway line from Brasov to Bretcu, at Covasna. The upper Comandau section fanned out into the forest. The first section of this 760mm gauge system, opened in 1892 from Covasna following the Valea Zânelor ("Valley of Fairies") and was the first forestry railway using steam locomotives in Romania. A passenger service was operated over the first 6km connecting with trains on the main line. A gravity operated inclined plane, with loaded descending wagons raising empty ones, was constructed in 1886 to connect this line with the upper system as Siclau (11.6km). The plane was 1236m, ascending from 686m above to sea level to 1013m, and has been designated a National Historic Monument by the Romanian Ministry of Culture.

The workshops and repair facilities were all located on the upper Comandau section so even locomotives had to be tranported by the place from time to time. Comandau ("Grenzkommando") took its name from a former military post of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A sawmill was established here together with a station, workshop and shed, and lines of the forest railway fanned out into the forest and to the top of the inclined plane (10km). One line extended some 18.6 km, climbing via long curves into the Vrancea Mountains to Manicica, and at one time provided a further connection into the Zabala valley. After 11km, at Benedec, there was a connection to the once extensive Nehoiu forestry system. The line to the foresters' encampment at Manicica was in use until 1995 but was subsequently cut back to 5km from Comandau. A second line with several branches was built southwards from Comandau to Ghiula (6.6km) where there was once a sawmill. The main branches extended beyond Ghiula to Chiurca (5.4km) and to Mica (12.2km) and from Jancau, 2km along the latter branch to Reitec 4.5km. The Mica branch connected with the Nehoiu system.

Many of the smaller lines were closed in the 1970s following flooding and landslides. By the 1980s there was a daily train to either the Ghiula area or Manicica to collect cut timber, as in the case of Viseu. In addition there were two trains carrying sawn timber to the inclined plane at Siclau. By the 1990s only one locomotive would be working, alternating between the forests or the inclined plane. Another locomotive worked on the lower line shunting at the timber yard in Covasna and collecting sawn timber from the bottom of the inclined plane. The Ghiula line was lifted by 1991 and only three locomotives remained at Comandau. As forests fell into private ownership more and more timber was transported by lorries, mainly eastwards rather than via Comandau leading to the line to Manicica being closed in 1995, and lifted from Benedic to Manicica in 1996. The condition of tracks and locomotives deteriorated and there were periods when there was no activity. There was serious damage to the inclined plane during a forest fire in 1996 but this was rebuilt. Nevertheless the amount of work declined with just three weekly trains to the top of the incline, and two to the bottom, and then in 1990 the Covasna sawmill closed. By 2002 an association had been set up by local government and railway enthusiasts to reestablish the railway initially as a tourism project asfar as Holomu and to counter unemployment in the area. The
Siclau Association has subsequently been active setting up work camps and has made commendable progress, reconstructing the Hanko bridge to reach the inclined plane from Covasna in 2004. In May 2004 764.405R hauled the first train to Siclau since the line closed in 1999. In addition they have managed to reopen the sawmill at Comandau to produce planks for the moment. 763.237 has been steamed and used on the line towards Holomu.

The first locomotives included several 0-6-0s and a pair of Hartmann 'Saxon-Meyers'. Since the second world war standard Resita 0-8-0Ts with Klein-Lindner axles proved ideal for the tight curves and gradients of the line. Reghin (IUPS) locomotives to the same design followed in the 1980s. Of special note is the unusual, historic 4-6-0 Krauss locomotive which is used at Comandau, and the standard gauge 1909 Borsig used to shunt the yards at Covasna. Byy 2007 the line was still in disuse despite attempts at repairs. The good news is that the local council has purchased the trackbed at Covasna so there is still hope that the line can be preserved in the future. Special days have been organised and locomotives steamed over the last few years and others brought in and operated by Georg Hocevar from his collection at Criscior near Brad.




Details of Locomotives at Covasna-Comandau

Narrow gauge steam locomotives: Covasna
764.001 (764.401R) 0-8-0T Reghin 001/1982; CFF Covasna; stored at Covasna
764.405R 0-8-0T Reghin 602/1984; CFF Comandau; working locomotive at Covasna


Standard gauge steam locomotive: Covasna
N3-404 0-6-0T Borsig 7174/1909; Covasna furniture factory; working locomotive


Narrow gauge steam locomotives: Comandau
763.247 4-6-0T Krauss (München) 6968/1916; CFF Comandau; working locomotive
764.379 0-8-0T Resita 957/1951; CFF Comandau; stored in the shed at Comandau
764.455 0-8-0T Resita 1194/1956 CFF Comandau, orig.CFF Brezoi; stored in the shed at Comandau

Note: the following privately preserved locomotive has recently visited Covasna in August 2004: 764.431 0-8-0T Resita 1136/545; ex CFF Curtea de Arges
Also a Unio LDM45 diesel mechanical mines type locomotive used at Covasna, and a pair of draisines (one converted from a DAC lorry, the other from a Volga car)





Siclau Associatrion

The Siclau Assocoation aims to preserve and rebuild the assets of the railway, to reinstate and maintain its operation.
Those interested in the activities of the Association, developments in saving the railway or operation of trains,
will find up to date information and photographs on their website:
Covasna-Comandau.

A timetable will also be posted on their website as soon as regular services are established.
You will also find full contact details if you would like to take part in one of the work camps.
If you wish to visit Covasna-Comandau we can organise travel arrangements, accommodation and also guides



COVASNA is also known as the 'spa
of a thousand springs' due to the
many thermal springs with healing
properties in the area. We
organise acommodation at the
comfortable Hotel Bradul,
close to the railway,
or nearby at the Zabola Estate.





Travel Advice

Covasna may be easily be reached by train from Sfântu Gheorghe on the CFR line to Târgu Secuiesc and Bretcu (service 404). There are presently five return trains per day. Trains connect with regular services from Brasov at Sfântu Gheorghe. Alternatively Covasna may easily be reached by road from Brasov (56km; route DN11 to Reci then a minor road to Covasna). We can organise accommodation for you in Covasna at the comfortable Hotel Bradul, or nearby at the Zabola Estate 'Pavilion". In addition we can organise day trips to Covasna from Brasov with a guide, or for guests on our popular "Touch of Class" holidays based at Miclosoara. A very good alternative, but one that will need advance booking, is to contact Colin Shaw at Roving Romania. Colin lives near to Brasov and organises Land Rover holidays throughout Romania. However, he also an expecrt on Forestry and other railways in Romana so he would be the ideal person to take you on a long day trip to Covasna, or even a longer tour taking in other places of railway interest while exploring the real Romania off the beaten track. See: Roving Romania




Moldovita
Bucovina

The CFF system ar Moldovita opened in 1900, extending from the woodyards and sawmill at Moldovita (a few kms north of the famous "painted" monastery) with many branches extending deep into the forests of Bucovina. More had been constructed as recently as the mid 1980s. It even served as a lifeline for the small communities along the line. Nevertheless it officially closed in 1999 although therewere been sporadic reports of it being used occasionally when there have been contracts to bring timber down from the forest. Two steam locomotives were preserved in the shed, a Krauss 0-6-0T and a standard Resita 0-8-0T, both in working order and both used occasionally for enthusiast specials. A couple of "home-built" diesels were also present until well after 2000. The future of the line seemed secure when R.G.Holz (of Viseu) took control in 2003 and made proposals to continue to bring timber from the forest and create a tourist service using the historic Krauss locomotive. The larger Resita locomotive was transferred to Viseu de Sus in exchange for a diesel. However, the new company faced continuous obstruction from the Romanian forestry service, Romsilva, who continued to transport timber with heavy lorries, which damaged and ripped up the trackbed. By 2004 the project had clearly reached a stage where it could not be realised due to the continued prevarication of Romsilva and reluctantly R.G.Holz pulled out taking the locomotives back to Viseu. The forestry railway at Moldovita is now almost history. This is a very sad situation as there were already plenty of opportunities due yo excellent accessibility, and increasing tourism to the famous Painted Monasteries and because there had been support from the mayor of Suceava county. The only losers have been the villagers who would have benefitted from the project and who have lost out due to local politics and the greed of a few individuals

Sporadic operations recommenced in 2006 using locomotives belonging to an Austrian preservation group including a former ÖAMG mines locomotive. High prices were being charged for trains and accusations that this was a case of 'men playing trains' rather than a serious attempt to restore any service on this railway. However, the group is serious as it is headed Georg Hocevar, an enthusiast who has been instrumental in preserving some of Romania's rail heritage and has now built up a remarkable collection of ex narrow gauge, forestry and industrial locomotives at the former Brad-Criscior line near to Deva - see the following website for more details:
www.cfi.ro (Romanian language - can translate into English with Google).




Other former CFF Forestry Railways

Just over a decade ago there were numerous other forestry railways still active in Romania including Bezeasca, Tâsmana, Orastie, Stilpeni, Roznov, Tazlau, Lapusna, Scutaru, Campu Cetatii, Comanesti, Finis, Fincel, Margina, Teregova, Risca, Rastolita and Oituz. Even these are just a fraction of those that once existed throughout the forests of the Carpathians. Remains of lines may still be found and in some cases rusting locos and crumbling buildings. For example in 2001 there was still a loco derelict at Margina and a railcar at Teregova. In many cases privatisation of the forests and the introduction of road transport was the death knell not only for the railways but for an entire way of life. Lapusna may work again - there is an ambitious project to reopen part of it to serve Ceausescu's former hunting lodge, now accommodation for tourists. However, much of this fascinating way of life is already just a memory.



As recently as June 1998 there were still nine steam locomotives in various stages of derelictionat Tâsmana, near to Târgu Jiu, in the southern Carpatians. They included 764.409R, an 0-8-0T built in 1985 at Reghin to the standard Resita design. It is understood that the site, which was the centre for a very extensive system, has now been cleared and several of these newer Reghin locomotives can now be found preserved on Forestry lines in Hungary. Another placewhere steam survived quite late was Orastie near Hunedoara. There a pair of standard Resita 0-8-0T sunted the woodyards adjacent to the main line - this last vestige of a once extensive forestry system survived until very recemtluy. Of special note were the assymetric buffer beams and buffers attached to the locomotives for shunting standard gauge wagons. One of them survives as a memorial besie the Orastie by-pass!




CFF Tâsmana: Rusting in the yard in June 1998 were Resita 764.435
and Reghin 764.403R, both of them standard forestry 0-8-0Ts,
along with the remainder of the stock of this large system






Further Reading

"Die Wassertalbahn" (CFF Viseu de Sus - Mocanota): Michael Schneeberger 2006
(German, English & Romania - excellent photographs)
"Wälder und Dampf I" Reichel & Hufnagel
"Wälder und Dampf II" Beierl & Hufnagel
"Mit Dampf durch die Karpaten I & II" Hofmeister
"Calea Ferata Forestiera Covasna-Comandau/
The Covasna-Comandau Forestry Railway" Hufnagel, Lacriteanu, Szilard & Erno, Budapest 2002
"Eastern European Narrow Gauge" Keith Chester








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