Maintenance crew for steam train (1988) by Michael Schneeberger Mocăniţa - Last of the Carpathian Forestry Railways

1933 – A new beginning

The construction of the Vaser Valley forestry railway marked the beginning of a new period of logging in the region. After the inauguration of the first section of railway on 1st October 1933, an event that took place in the presence of important political figures including the Minister of Land and Agriculture, the old rafting method of transport was gradually abandoned.

The „Budapest“ 764.313, hardlypulling a train near Betigi. (1990) by Michael Schneeberger Mocăniţa - Last of the Carpathian Forestry Railways

Postwar period

The railway operated until October 1944, when it was partially destroyed by retreating German-Hungarian troops. After the Second World War, CAPS restored the railway, later extending it by a further 14 km and adding other branches in adjacent valleys such as the Novăț Valley.

Map of Vaser Valley Forestry Railway Mocăniţa - Last of the Carpathian Forestry Railways

1961 – the edge of the forest railway

In 1961, after completion of all work on the railway, the CFF Vișeu de Sus network had a total length of 79.095 km, of which 46.028 km were main line, the rest being branches, sidings and passing loops at stations. It should be mentioned that the line beyond the CFF station in Vișeu de Sus was built to the narrow gauge of 760 mm, as specified for rugged terrain, so that it could follow the tortuous course of the Vaser river.

Vaser Valley Steam Train Mocăniţa - Last of the Carpathian Forestry Railways

The last active forest railway in Europe

The economic changes following the Revolution of December 1989 had a devastating impact upon the forest railways of Romania: within just a few years almost these railways were closed and dismantled. Consequently, most steam locomotives in Romania were withdrawn from service and abandoned but here, on the last active forest railway in Romania, some of them have had the chance to rediscover their usefulness, running up and down the narrow Vaser Valley with the same enthusiasm that they had in the old days.

Credits: Story

Association Wassertalbahn
Coordonater: Ioana Coman-Karlstetter
Photography and Editing: Daniel Andreica
Text: Tiberiu Andruşca
English Translation: Colin Shaw

Credits: All media
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