History

In the past the transport of the iron ore from the Ghelari iron ore mine to the foundries was done by carriers with baskets and in baskets mounted on the horse’s two sides. The ore was transported mainly to the unloading station near the blast furnace at Govăjdia. After the growing demand for iron ore the transportation costs in 1859 jumped up from 186 Fillér/Ton of transported ore to 536 Fillér/Ton of transported ore. Due to the high costs the management committee decided the changing of the existing transportation system.  Meanwhile they have dug a 600m long adit in “Retişoara” valley witch was completed in 1866 at a cost of 111768 Krones and 50 Fillér. Along with this adit’s construction there was built a 790 meter long, 633mm gauge railway for horse drawn ore cars. At the end of the railway was built a 160 meter long dumping ramp for the ore so it can tumble down to the bottom of the valley and picked up by the carriers. The ramp helped to combat the altitude difference of 90-100 meters between the adit and the bottom of the valley and helped with the ore descent. At the bottom of the ramp the carriers picked up the ore and carried to the blast furnace at Govăjdia witch was 4 km’s away. By these systems the cost of transported ore dropped from 30 Fillér to just 10 Fillér, but the blast furnace at Govăjdia had a limited supply of ore and the carriers came up with demands of their own and rushed the extension of the line to the blast furnace at Govăjdia. The 260 meter altitude difference between the transportation level of the iron ore quarry at Ghelari and the throat of the blast furnace, to compensate this altitude difference they have built a 5120 long, three sectioned, 633mm gauge railway for horse drawn ore cars. The cost of the railway was 20000 Krones. The line was interrupted by the chutes at Retişoara and Nădrab. Later they have built two water driven jaw crushers for the iron ore. The last section of the railway was completed in July 1871 and handed over for traffic. After the opening of the railway and the dumping ramps, the cost of the transported ore dropped to just 7 Fillér/every 100 kg’s of transported ore. In 1888, the dumping ramps they where replaced by inclined planes: one at Retişoara 260 meter long and one 140 meter long at Nădrab. After the construction of the ironworks at Hunedoara witch had begun in 1882, the large quantity of the required iron ore mined at Ghelari couldn’t be transported to Hunedoara by the existing systems. Due to economic and difficult geography reasons they have opted for a system of ropeway conveyor to transport the required ore. The ropeway conveyor system was completed in 1884 and satisfied the need of ore for the three blast furnaces at Hunedoara. After the fourth blast furnace was built, the existing ropeway conveyor system proved to be incapable to fulfill the extra need of iron ore. They’ve compensated by building a second ropeway conveyor system right next to the existing one between Hunedoara and Ghelari. Due to the high costs created by the transportation the iron ore and charcoal to the blast furnaces at Hunedoara and Govăjdia, in 1897 the radical overhaul of the transportation system was decided.     This is how the “Transylvanian Mining Railway” was built so all of the mined ore from Ghelari to be transported to the Retişoara terminus and loaded in the cars of the narrow gauge train from there to be shipped via rail to the blast furnace at Govăjdia and the ironworks at Hunedoara. The construction of the “Transylvanian Mining Railway” lead to the radical change of the transportation system in the main mine at Ghelari. It was necessary to transport all the mined ore to the “Kerpely” adit where the existing inclined plane and the dumping ramp posed no difficulties.          The transportation issue was also solved by the “Lukács László” adit and the “Kerpely” adit being on the same level and already connected by railway. The extension could have been done by building a tunnel with minimal cost.  The building of the “Lukács László” tunnel was started from two directions in 1898 and the breakthrough was in 1899. The entire length of the tunnel was 504,9 meters and connected with the “Lukács László” adit and reached a combined length of 754 meters. The tunnel’s two entrances where lined, but the rest of the tunnel was passing trough solid slate, so there was no need for reinforcement. The tunnel is 20 meters lower than the “Ferencz József” adit so the ground water gathers in the lower tunnel. There was an electrified rail system installed further trough the “Lukács László” tunnel to the inclined plane at Retişoara and the “Kerpely” adit, all the 633mm gauge horsedrawn ore cars where replaced by a 4‰ incline electrified railway so the ore is hauled on the 1-2 km system of electrified rail to the inclined planes at Retişoara valley. The inclined planes where also overhauled so that it had two transportation platforms capable of picking up four cars at once. This was a gravitational system of the two platforms being mounted on three rails and connected by cable. The weight of the full cars on the first platform descending, pulls up the empty cars on the second platform. From the bottom of the inclined plane the full ore cars where pulled by another electric loco (sometimes helped by a steam locomotive) to the terminus at Retişoara where three electrically driven jaw crushers and ore sorting facility crushed and sorted the ore by class and dumped in the eight loading bins for the loading of the Transylvanian Mining Railway’s cars destined to Hunedoara and Govăjdia.     Therese systems where commissioned in the autumn of 1900 and handed over for traffic. The following diagram illustrates the quantity of ore transported from Ghelari to Hunedoara via ore buckets on the two cableways:                       On the “Transylvanian Mining Railway” since it was opened the following quantity of ore was transported:

1900…..………….. 20380,8T
1901……………….. 188920,2T
1902……………….. 206507,2T
1903……………….. 204323,3T
1904……………….. 184302,9T
1905……………….. 169076,4T

The preparation work for the “Transylvanian Mining Railway” begun in 1890 with the construction of the track bed from Govăjdia to Hunedoara, the construction of the 747m tunnel begun in 1894. In 1897 and 1898 the preparation work progressed so much that they decided the construction of the line after the inclined planes at Nădrab and Retişoara where enlarged to cope with more loads and the existing mine railway from Ghelari mine. Afterwards the terrain needed for the “Transylvanian Mining Railway” was occupied legally, the examination of the track bed in 1898 January 9-13 was successful, the ministry of commerce asked for the visit of the government, the government had made a visit on 14th of February, they held a meeting at the local council at Hunedoara and issued the line construction authorization verbally on the mining society’s own risk, the railway construction had begun at the beginning of spring, on the 4th of March 1898 with the ceremonial first shovel stroke.  For the construction of the railway a contract was made with the three Austrian railway construction firms: “Gfrerer”, “Schoch” and “Grossman”, and the ordinance no. 24089 issued by the Hungarian Kingdom’s finance ministry on 15th of March 1899 was also approved. The “Mining Railway” is exiting Hunedoara and passing over the Zlaşti valley,       and snaking it’s way on the hillside, afterwards it passes trough Căţănaş mountain in the 747 meter tunnel and exiting in the Govăjdia valley.       The line continues from here to the inclined planes at Retişoara valley witch is close to Ghelari. The entire length of the line is 16 km and built with the 760mm gauge for the steam locos. The highest gradient on the open track is 27‰ and in stations 25‰. The tightest curve radius on the open track is 50 meters and in stations 40 meters. The steel rails used where 13,75 Kg/meter. The ties where placed so close to each other when the 2,5 T exerted  by each wheel, it wouldn’t exceed 1000 kg/every square centimeter. The tracks in the station where placed 3 meters to each other measured from the center of the track considering the width of the rolling stock witch was around 2-3 meters maximum. The ties where made of oak and they where 1,5 meters long, in a trapezoid shape with the base was 14 cm wide, the height was 12 cm and the top was 12 cm wide. There where four stations built on the line: Hunedoara, Govăjdia, Nădrab and Retişoara.                The station at Hunedoara also known as the “west train station”, “the small train station” or “the upper train station” is situated at 5.35 meters above the level of the upper factory track and at 6.65 meters above the level of the throat of the number 4 blast furnace. There where built bunkers for unloading of the iron ore from the cars where the locomotive pushed the cars in for unloading. The bunkers served as raw materials storage for the blast furnaces.       Here they also unloaded the limestone. There where tracks crossing on a metallic bridge linking the station’s tracks with the bunkers for the unloading of the charcoal. For the bigger ore loads they have built a transfer station where the ore from the narrow gauge rail cars was dumped in the standard gauge rail cars.                This “Mining Railway” an exclusively mountain specific railway that was furbished with exquisite metallic bridges, numerous works of art and tunnels trough high gradient mountains. The line contributed to the spectacular development of the  ironworks at Hunedoara and Govăjdia. The exterior aspect was also changed for the two ironworks and they also become more valuable, so that the construction of the railway was a complete success for the mining industry and the two ironworks. The line was constructed entirely on the mining society’s own expense, so the construction and furbishing costs at the beginning of 1906  soared till 3655000 Krones, also completed the steps of the conversion for a local interest railway.  There will be a cost of 300000 Krones for the maintenance of the line for 30 years from it’s opening date, so the entire line along with it’s rolling stock was transferred in the national treasury’s property and administration. There is a minimal quota per year of iron ore that must be transported to Hunedoara and Govăjdia. To Hunedoara 180000 T/year at the price of 140 Fillér/ton, to Govăjdia 20000 T/year at the price of 60 Fillér/Ton. Also the finished cast products and other products from the blast furnace at Govăjdia to be transported down to Hunedoara as well as the products from Hunedoara to Govăjdia at a rate of around 9000T/year at a price of 12 Fillér. At the higher transport rates the transport costs drop considerably.         The task notes gathered at the government’s visit along with the approval by the Hungarian Kingdom’s ministry of commerce issued in the 27th of April 1899 and in the mean time was issued a permanent construction authorization, the construction of the mining railway according to the contract took 19 months, than the inspection of the line was made in the 29th of September 1900 and at the same time was opened and handed over for traffic.                         In the same year in the second half of November, a test transport was made to prove that this railway is capable of simplifying the transportation of materials and could transport the quantities of material specified in the contract. The railway was found viable for transport of materials and the transport capacity was proven.

In the 1950’s the original steam locos where scrapped and being replaced by 11 Reşiţa locos, the original locoshed was demolished from Govăjdia, the original station building at Hunedoara was also demolished and rebuilt in a different style. A new locoshed was built in Hunedoara. This line survived unscaved trough two world wars and continued transporting iron ore till the late 1960’s, when the Retişoara terminus was abandoned after another tunnel was dug in 1963-1967 between the underground mine from Ghelari and the ore processing facility near Teliucu Inferior. A new terminus was established at Crăciuneasa when a new dolomite, limestone and talcum quarry was opened there in 1970. The remaining 3 km of line was cut back from Retişoara valley to Crăciuneasa terminus and the line was used exclusively for the transport of dolomite, limestone and talcum to the limeworks at canton 1 and also to the steelworks at Hunedoara. There where regular trips around 12 trips per a 24 hour period with passengers and freight. In the mid ’70-s the old rails where replaced to a 40 Kg/m rails and a capital repair was made on the entire line. The steam locos where replaced in the early ’80-s with five 450hp, Faur L45H class diesel-hydraulic locos and one 350hp Faur L35H class loco. The original 114m viaduct over the Zlaşti valley was scrapped and replaced in 1989 to support greater loads. This line employed a number of  around 120 workers till 1990.  The passenger services ceased in 1990 and the line was used for freight and commuters till 2000. On rare occasions where organised trips for tourists on demand. The line was closed in 2000 between Canton 1 Zlasa and Crăciuneasa terminus. The management of the limeworks decided in 2001 to scrap 11 km of narrow gauge line between Canton 1, Govăjdia and Crăciuneasa. Meanwhile they scrapped the extra rolling stock (old steam locos, passenger cars and freight cars) they also sold some of the L45H class locos. Only two locos and 10 freight cars remain along with the last 2,3 km of track between the Hunedoara station and Canton 1. The line was used for the hauling of the limestone from the improvised loading station made at the old station near the castle to the limeworks at Canton 1. The last train ran in the autumn of 2008. In the summer of 2009 the new management of the limeworks decided to scrap/sale the last remaining track section along with it’s three bridges and remaining rolling stock. Now only two bridges, bridge legs and consoles, three tunnels, the locoshed, the station building and the track bed survive. One of the bridges is the 114 m viaduct and the second is at Govăjdia.

Our narrow-gauge railroad was the first narrow-gauge 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.

The construction of this narrow gauge railway is strongly tied to mining (Ghelari iron ore mine) and the local metallurgy (blast furnace of Govăjdia and Hunedoara’s Iron Works )

For the loading of the iron ore in to the blast furnace of Govăjdia, they have mounted a 246,8 meter long track consisting of cast-iron rails witch have been cast at Govăjdia.

The original bridge over Zlaşti valley was scrapped and replaced before the 1989 revolution to support greater loads.

Former steam locomotive (scrapped)

Former Diesel-Hydraulic loco Faur 24601/82 (scrapped)

The mayor of the town of Ghelari, Ion Bulbucan: „The blast furnace at Govăjdia was opened in 1806. In this area there where many foundries and forges. But the Austro-Hungarian empire noticed the rich iron ore deposits at Ghelari and Vadu Dobrii and wanted a large scale extraction. There are some iron elements that where cast here and now are integrated in the structure of the Eiffel Tower. The exact amount of iron delivered from the furnace of Govăjdia to the “emblem” of Paris is not yet known. The furnace operated until 1921 and it had become obsolete, because in 1884, in Hunedoara started the production of iron in the “iron factories”, with a capacity larger than that of Govăjdia. The railway was extended – from the old route from Retişoara to Govăjdia (conducted between 1859 and 1871) has been reinforced and extended to Hunedoara, in 1900, ensuring, in addition to the old network of ropeway conveyors, a variate transport of ore to Hunedoara: by the Transylvanian mining narrow gauge railway.”
source: http://www.replicahd.ro/images/replica206/rep3.htm

From 1871 the narrow gauge train ran non-stop until these years.
The narrow gauge railway from Ghelari (Retişoara) to Govăjdia operated since 1871 (length 5 km)
The narrow gauge railway from Ghelari (Retişoara) to Hunedoara operated since 1900 (length 16 km)
The line was cut back from Retişoara (Ghelari) to Crăciuneasa in 1970
The narrow gauge railway from Crăciuneasa to Hunedoara operated since 1970 (length 13 km)
The line was scrapped from Crăciuneasa to Zlaşti in the 2000-2001 for economic reasons, without taking account of it’s touristic value.
The timetable for the Hunedoara-Govăjdia-Retişoara narrow gauge railway valid from May the 1st, 1916. Ticket prices are expressed „ Fillér” an Austro-Hungarian currency (source: )

Narrow gauge locomotive fleet Hunedoara 10/6/1998 (source: http://freespace.virgin.net/brian.rumary/Romania.htm )

9 0-8-0T Resita 1330 1957 Der
13 0-8-0T Resita 1331 1957 Der
14 0-8-0T Resita 1332 1957 Der
01 0-6-0D Faur 24601 1982 OOU
L45H-069 Bo-BoDH Faur 23126 1976
L45H-070 Bo-BoDH Faur 23125 1976
L45H-071 Bo-BoDH Faur 23127 1976
L45H-072 Bo-BoDH Faur 25128 1976
L45H-084 Bo-BoDH Faur 24973 1985

Locomotive:
„12F 0-8-0T Re ş i ţ a 1019 1952 Der 12F 0-8-0T Re T 1019 AND 1952 Der” Was transformed into a mobile heating unit for the passenger train.
__________________________________________________________________________________________
The article written on Wikipedia can be read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transylvanian_mining_railway

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