viaduct jitin the oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita Semeringul Banatean

A journey by train on Oravita – Anina railway means a journey on the first mountain railway in Romania.

Highlights: First of all it was founded in 1863, for the transportation of ore. For passengers the railway was open on the 4th April 1869.

Furthermore, it is the second mountain railway in Europe, after the one in Semmeringbahn, Austria. The railway Gloggnitz-Semmering-Murzzuschlag was opened in 1854. Due to the technical similarities with the latter, the Oravita – Anina mountain railway was also named “Semeringul Banatean”.

the oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita

When talking about the oldest railways in the country, it is the fifth one. As for its technical capacities, it is a unique railway in the country. The railway is located in the north-west of the Aninei Mountains in the county of Caras – Severin.

Historical data:

  • At the beginning, the railway belonged to the “Coal Road” Anina-Oravita-Bazias. Initially the road Oravita – Anina (1847) was built for the transport of coal with horse-drawn wagons. This road could not satisfy the needs for transport, therefore other roads were built, Oravita – Bazias (1854), then Oravita – Anina (1863). From Bazias there were flatboats loaded with superior pit coal from Anina and going to Viena, on the Danube.
  • Many people contributed to build the railway: the “bufenii” – Romanians from Oltenia, the colonized Tyrolese in Oraviţa after 1717, and also stone cutters from Italy, known as “friulani”.

Technical data:

The Oraviţa – Anina mountain railway has 33.4 km. There are more than 14 tunnels and 10 viaducts. The total length of the tunnels is of 2084 m and of the viaducts 843 m.

Of the 33 km, 21 km are going through the hills, all this being made in a time when the dynamite was not yet available. All the works were made manually, using the pick and chisel.

the oldest mountain railway in Romania tunnel anina oravitathe oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita rocks

The longest viaduct is the Racovita Viaduct, measuring 115 m in length and 26.5 in height. But the most famous one is the one in Jitin – being a true work of art. The viaduct is built in a curve at both ends, the height of the pillars is 37 m and on a length of 31 m it has an iron bridge. The whole tunnel Jitin, having 230m in length, is also curved.

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The longest tunnel is the tunnel Garliste and it has a length of 660 m.

From Oraviţa (altitude 219 m) the track climbs to an elevation gain of 339 m to Anina, which is at 554 m. Due to this difference crossed within a distance of only 33 km as well as to the strenuous site, the railway Oraviţa – Anina is considered a mountain railway.

the oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravitathe oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita tunnel

What makes it different from other railways is the radius of the curves. At this railway the radius of the curve is 114 m in comparison with the usual railways, which have a radius of curves of 150 m. To avoid the derailment of the train there were counter rails installed in the interior.

Also, the railway reaches an inclination of 20 o/oo that’s what makes it special compared to other railways, where the slope is 14‰. That’s why the speed is small, an average of 17 km/h and special locomotives and wagons are needed.

the oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita viaduct jitinthe oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita Semeringul Banatean

The track is not electrified, operating with a diesel locomotive built specially for the mountain railway Oravita – Anina. The train has two second class carriages, built in 1914, with no compartments, with wooden benches. In need another car may be added. Only 3 cars can move on this unique railway. They are constructed so as to allow the entry of the train into a curve with a lesser radius than the normal trains.

anina oravita the oldest mountain railway in Romania garliste gorges

The train stops in five stations, excepting Oravita and Anina: Brădişorul de Jos (km 8), Dobrei, Lișava (km 14), Ciudanovița (km 17) and Gârliște (km 24).

When not passing through rock tunnels, the train passes through the tunnels created by the trees, leaving few lookout points to observe. From time to time you can see through the “windows” towards the surrounding heights and the Garlistei Gorges, when passing through the area of the station Garliste – Anina.

the oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita halt ciudanovitagarliste railway station anina oravita oldest mountain railway in Romania

Useful information and tips for Oravita – Anina mountain railway trip:

If you want to take photos, be seated on the left side of the train, when leaving from Oravita. You can also take photos from the end of the last car (you can open the door). The windows won’t open, the piercing and unfinished walls of the tunnels are at a distance of only 12 cm.

For those who come at Oravita by car, the return can be done on the same train. There is only one round-trip per day, 2 hours out and 2 hours back. There are not regular automobile transport between Anina and Oravita.

You can carry the bike by train Oravita-Anina paying a fee, even if there are no wagons with special space for the bike. In the summer of 2018 the fee was 5 lei/ bike. Thus, you can go back to the starting point by bike, whether on paved road or on other roads in the area. There are 22 km between Anina and Oravita.

anina railway station cycling

the oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita mountain biking

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An interesting circuit can be done combining the journey by train with hiking. From Anina go by train to the halt Ciudanovița or Gârliște and return to Anina through the Gârliște Gorges.
The Garlistei Gorges are one of the seven nature reserves in the National Park Semenic- Caraşului Gorges.

You can make a journey in the gorges if you get off the train:

  • at the halt Ciudanovita. Keep in mind that the stations are quite far from the villages. From the railway station Ciudanovita you have 5 km to the centre of the village Ciudanovita, another 3 km to the village Garliste and another 2 km up to the entrance in the gorges. To get to the gorges you have also the option from the halt Ciudanovita to follow the railway track up to Garliste surroundings. Here you go down the affluent Valea Mare, at the entrance of the gorges (11 km).
  • at the halt Garliste. The station is at 6 km from the village of Garliste, on roads that are scarcely traveled. But getting off here, you will miss the spectacular area between Garliste and Ciudanovita.

To get to the gorges you need GPS, the access trails are not marked. Throughout the Garlistei Gorges follow the red mark. This trail does not arise technical problems, but it is long, about 12 km from Garliste up to Anina (about 4-5 hours). Taking this long, don’t forget to add the time from the halt until the entry in the gorges (about 3 hours).

National-park-Semenic-Cheile-Carasului-garlistei-gorges garlistei-gorges-National-park-Semenic-Cheile-Carasului

Purchase tickets train Oravita – Anina mountain railway :

  • from the office in the railway stations and travel agencies CFR, as well as online, up to a maximum of 30 days in advance.
  • from the station Oraviţa and the conductor. However,  it is not recommended in the peak tourist season. There might not be available seats.

Lately the requests for this train have increased, so it is advisable to already have the tickets. You can find data on train timetable and price on the website cfr.ro.

the oldest mountain railway in Romania monument anina oravita viaduct jitin

Anina and Oraviţa are 2 cities that have developed under the Austrian administration, in the 18th century. From the flourishing past of the area only a few tourist sights remained, giving them a quaint charm.

anina railway station

The train station in Oravita is the oldest train station in Romania. On the 20th August 1854 the first journey was made on the route Lișava-Oraviţa-Baziaş. The Oravita Station is special, because the platform is raised above street level. Moreover, in the past, an elevator allowed access to the platform for passengers and luggage.

the oldest mountain railway in Romania anina oravita railwaystation

Oravita attracts with its unique sights: the first theatre in Romania and the oldest mountain pharmacy in Banat.

The theatre “Mihai Eminescu” from Oravita, the oldest theatre in the country and in the south-eastern Europe was built in 1816 and was opened a year later in the presence of King Franz II. It is a Viennese baroque construction, taking after the Vienna Opera Theatre, of course at a much smaller scale. In 1957 it was declared a historical and architectural monument.

In 1733, the first two artificial lakes in Romania were built close to here, Lacul Mare and Lacul Mic.

Anina, a former mining town, has the oldest exploitation of pit coal in Romania and furthermore, one of the deepest mines in Europe, over 1000 m. To revive the past of this mine, there is a project to transform the Well 1 in the Anina Mine, into a museum. People will be able to go down in the mine cage, up to a depth of 50 m. 

pit coal mine aninaanina new town comunism

Near Anina, in 1884 they built the first artificial lake on limestone in Romania. Buhui Lake was built for the water supply of the city of Anina. The lake is surrounded by a fir tree forest in mixture with beech, with monument exemplary of Douglas-fir and larches.

buhui lake aninabuhui lake douglas monument

Car access to Oravita and Anina

DN 58 connects the city of Reşiţa to Anina. After Anina, we continue on DN57B, the road that connects Anina to Oravita to the west and Bozovici – Plugova to the east.

You can reach Oraviţa from Timisoara, via Moravita on DN57. This road continues through Naidăș and Pojejena, through the Danube Gorges.

map the oldest mountain railway in Romania oravita anina

Versiunea in limba romana

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