Hunedoara – the end of the line

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A local group lobbied hard with the objective of saving the last section of the Hunedoara narrow gauge railway in Romania and developing it as a tourist attraction.

A ride with the narrow gauge train (mocăniţa) would be a perfect combination with a visit to the castle. Not to mention at the end of this narrow gauge line at Govăjdia is the oldest blast furnace conserved. It was the most modern blast furnace in Europe for smelting iron ore for it’s era. Most of the cast-iron parts made here are in the structure of the Eifel Tower in Paris. Today is a historical monument and open for visitors.

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The line had enormous heritage value in its own right.

Our narrow gauge railroad was the first railroad of Transylvania. Hunedoara’s narrow gauge train station was the only station in Europe where the locomotive had to go around the station in order to turn the locomotive around without the need of a turntable. The narrow gauge train passed over the first bridge built in a curve in our country.

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But greed and local politics got in the way. Today the the Hunedoara narrow gauge railway is no more.

Abandoned and dismantled piece by piece for scrap, Hunedoara’s narrow gauge railway system is on the edge of extincion. There are some works of railway art yet undestroyed three bridges and three tunnels. The first bridge was built in the 1890′s in a curve, and it was the first bridge built in a curve in Romnania. The second bridge was built in the 1890′s and replaced in 1989 to support a greater load, it is 114 meters long, has four legs and is in an “S” shape. The third bridge is at Govăjdia, 12 meters long and also was built in the 1890′s. The first tunnel is near Zlaşti, it is 747 meter long, crossing trough the mountain to Căţănaş it was built over a period of 5 years with primitive technology. The second tunnel is at Tulea, it is 42 meters long and was built in a curve. Both tunnels where designed by two italian engineers. The third tunnel 44 meters long was built in the 1860′s it is near Retişoara. These objectives would be a proud addition to every railway museum.

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The tragic fate of the Hunedoara narrow gauge railway is a sober warning to railway preservationists everywhere; especially so those in former Soviet block countries where very little public recognition is given to industrial heritage. What future is there for Poland’s loss-making narrow gauge railways like the Smigiel and Przework lines? How soon before the scrap thieves remove the track from the remains of the Krosniewice Railway?

(1) The quotes are taken from The Narrow Gauge Railway of Hunedoara blog.

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One Response to “Hunedoara – the end of the line”

  1. White Horse Pilgrim Says:

    Well that pretty well mirrors the general attitude towards heritage in Romania, where medieval villages, wooden churches and even narrow gauge railways are treated with contempt. Unlike Poland, Romania is a piece of the Third World mistakenly admitted into the EU.

    Meanwhile certain UK heritage railways asset strip with the aid of the individual treated with such hagiographic zeal in the Romanian blog. Carriages from the embrionic Sibiu-Agnita railway preservation scheme now run in Wales. (But not before blue asbestos was stripped out by unprotected Romanian workers.)

    How do I know? I ran a travel agency out there until I’d had enough of making excuses for dishonesty, derelict heritage and rivers full of trash.

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