Enthusiast

Narrow Gauge Steam in Romania

9 to 17 September
Romania

Due to the economic isolation of the Country during the Ceausescu years, economic development was retarded even by Soviet-bloc standards but the benefit for us was the retention of many anachronistic narrow gauge, steam hauled railways to serve rural communities and industry.

Our tour offers an insight into this interesting mixture, with visits to industrial, lumber and minor narrow-gauge railways along with a chance to visit one of the most outstandingly well preserved medieval cities in central Europe plus a contrast in tram systems! This tour is made possible by Austrian, Georg Hocevar who has done more to develop and preserve Romanian Narrow Gauge Railways than any other. Without Georg and his colleagues this tour just could not happen! The logistics are extraordinary in themselves and will include moving locos in steam by road between different railways and stretches of track!

Highlights

  • Several locomotives in steam
  • Photo opportunity in real industrial locations
  • Chance to ride and photograph
  • Scenic and unspoilt country
  • Culture options

Tour Manager: Chris

Itinerary

Day 1 Sunday 9 September (D)  Direct flights from Luton Airport – or indirect flights with Lufthansa from Birmingham, Manchester and Heathrow – to Sibiu. Overnight Hotel at Sibiu. Welcome Dinner

Day 2 Monday 10 September (B, L) Morning – Cultural Tour of Sibiu then lunchtime coach to Cornatel for a traditional Transylvanian lunch. In the afternoon, we have a private charter steam train on the only operational section of the Sibiu – Agnita Railway (SAR). This line is being resurrected by a very enthusiastic group of mostly young people, who’s primary interest is in the cultural and historical aspects of the railway and the economically regenerative opportunities that such heritage railways can bring. They are actively supported by a UK organization – SARUK. The Brits bring a wealth of technical, commercial and legal experience to add to the local enthusiasm and good old-fashioned muscle! Very much like the Tallylyn in the 50s and 60s! We will ride the Train to Hosman and there will be plenty of opportunities for photo run-bys. Overnight Hotel at Sibiu.

Day 3 Tuesday 11 September (B, D) Moldovita. We travel by coach to Moldovita and visit Moldovita Monastery (UNESCO heritage) – built 1532 – 1537. Stunning 15th Century painted Monastery. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 4 Wednesday 12 September (B, L) Moldovita. A day of narrow gauge steam in Moldovita.  Early start to get good photos of steam up at the Depot. Moldovita is a really nice forestry line – with roadside and forest sections and plenty of good photographic vantage points for run-bys etc. Traditional Lunch at the Hunters Lodge (half way). Late afternoon coach transfer to Viseu de Sus for our overnight stay.

Day 5 Thursday 13 September and Day 6 Friday 14 September (B) Viseu de Sus. The narrow-gauge forest railway of Viseu de Sus is the last remaining commercial line in operation in Romania (and probably Europe!) Besides diesel engines, many steam locomotives are still serviceable, mostly the Resita-built 0-8-0T or their Reghin-built counterparts. Besides these, two more interesting steam locomotives are in running condition. One of them is the 0-8-0 Orenstein & Koppel-built tank locomotive 764 211 and the other is 763 193, an 0-6-0 tank engine with an inside frame build by Krauss in Munich. It came to Viseu de Sus from the forest railway at Moldovita after it closed. (Locos subject to availability at the time)

The main line starts in Viseu de Sus at the large sawmill and runs steadily uphill for 43 km to Coman at the Ukrainian border.

Over two days we will travel the whole system including plenty of opportunities to photograph working steam logging trains and two steam trains simultaneously.

Option of overnight stay in the mountains or return to Viseu for Hotel (by Railcar)

For those who stay overnight in the Lodge in the mountains there will be the added spectacle of horse logging and loading the steam-hauled log train in the forest in the early morning which is a fantastic experience.

Evening of Day 6 Friday 14 September Transfer by coach to Cluj for overnight stay.

Day 7 Saturday 15 September (B) CAMPEGNI – ABRUD section of the CFR line from Turda to Abrud.

We visit the last remaining operational section of the Turda – Abrud line which wound through the Transylvanian mountains, crossing and re-crossing both rivers and Roads on its way. The whole line has not operated since the 1990s but CFI have repaired a short section from Abrud – Campani. The route is along one side of a steep valley and passes Traditional style Romanian Churches and small farmsteads.  Our visit will see one of the most remarkable spectacles in European Heritage Rail operation – our loco will be transported to and from the Railway by lorry in steam for immediate use! We will travel both ways, with plenty of opportunities to photograph the train. Overnight stay Alba Ulia or Deva area (Hotel TBC)

Day 8 Sunday 16 September (B) BRAD – Real industrial steam! Drive to Brad. Railway Brad – Criscior. Brad – Criscior is a short industrial line from the state railway station in Brad to Criscior which used to be a thermoelectric plant and a factory making mining equipment. Now it is home to Georg Hocevar’s CFI which repairs and restores locos and rolling stock for all over Europe including the UK. Very industrial – and we can ride the bogie wagons! Transfer to Timisoara airport or OPTION of additional day.

Day 9 Monday 17 September (B) TIMISOARA – Trams. Visit Timisoara tramway museum and enjoy a sightseeing tour of Timisoara by tram.  Timsoara is a fascinating city with Roman remains and was the seat of the 1989 revolution. Timisoara also has Romania’s pioneering tramway system: the first tramway with horse trams and the first to electrify. Transfer to Timisoara airport.

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person)

  • Full 8 day holiday including flight from Luton: £1,399
  • Full 9 day holiday including flight from Luton: £1,460
  • Own travel to and from Romania: £1,199

Options

  • Single room Supplement: £170 (7 nights), £200 (8 nights)
  • Fly from Heathrow, Birmingham or Manchester: add approx. £100

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • En-suite hotel accommodation with breakfast
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • Services of our tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted.

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Recommended flights
  • WizzAir direct from Luton or Lufthansa from various UK airports via Munich.