Interesting facts:

  •  The Oraviţa – Anina railroad line has 14 tunnels dug in the mountain rocks measuring 2048 m and 10 viaducts across the deep valleys totalizing 843 m.
  •  The Oraviţa-Anina railway has 21 kilometres of rock cuts and 10 km long retaining walls.
  • The railway line from Oraviţa to Anina climbs from 218 m to 556 m, with a level difference of 338 m and a slope with a gradient of 20 per thousand. The radius of the curves is only 114 m, compared to 150 m, as usual. 


For any tourist in love with the beauties of nature, a train ride on the first and the most beautiful and spectacular mountain railway in Romania, namely on the Oraviţa – Anina track, can turn into a true revelation.
A train made of a steam locomotive pulling two vintage wagons, is crawling through the valleys on its way to the iron road of 33.4 km, covered in two and a half hours. The Oraviţa-Anina railway is a unique engineering work in Romania and South-Eastern Europe, being named by the locals the „Banat Semering” as it is compared to Austria’s famous railway called Semmering.

The first plain railway in Romania, Oraviţa-Baziaş, considered to be the oldest in Southeast Europe, was opened for the transport of coal on the 20th of August 1854 and for passengers on the 1st of November 1856.

The route passed through Romania and through the territory of today’s Serbia using the railway line Oraviţa – Răcăşdia-Iam-Iassenova -Biserica Albă-Baziaş and it was 62.5 km long, it was named „The Coal Path” for serving the coal transport to the Danube and from there further to Austria.
It is said that the coal was discovered by the woodcutter Mathias Hammer in 1790 at Anina. Then the extraction began and there was a need to build a railway line linking directly Anina to the Baziaș – Danube port.
Thus, in the spring of 1861, the final construction of the Oraviţa-Anina railway line began. It was opened for freight transport on the 15th of November 1863 and for the passenger transport on the 4th of April 1869.

The Oraviţa – Anina railway line is very picturesque, thanks to the numerous artworks that have been made to open the train path in the hard rock of the Anina Mountains. It was built by Italian craftsmen and workers, many of whom settled in the two towns at the end of the construction works.
Although the direct-line distance between Oraviţa and Anina does not exceed 15 km, the railway measures more than twice, namely 33.4 km, with 338-meter difference, from Oraviţa, situated at 218 m above the sea level, to Anina, positioned at an altitude of 556 m.

The track consists in 14 tunnels dug mainly in the rock and 10 viaducts across the deep valleys, being a masterpiece in the field of railway construction.
Between Oravita and Anina we can admire the most beautiful railway line from South-Eastern Europe. At the same time, the „old railway” of Romania constitutes the largest technical achievement in the construction of the railways in Banat at that time.

The great art of construction of this railroad is that it has an inclination of 20 per thousand, compared to the other regular railways that have an inclination of 14 per thousand.
Another remarkable technical feature of this line is the curve which has a radius of only 114 m, compared to 150 m, as the minimum limit usually is.
Its construction cost 5 million guldens.

Its construction cost 5 million guldens.

The route of the line with the 160 curves consists of three distinct sections:

  1. The 8,8 km Oraviţa – Maidan section, which has 6 bridges, the largest being the Racovita Viaduct with 11 openings, with the length of 115 m and the maximum height of 26,5 m. The maximum traffic speed is 40 km /h.
  2.  The Maidan – Gârlişte section between km 8.8 and 25 (16.2 km) is the hardest part of the route with two large slopes of 20 per thousand. There are 3 bridges on this section, one before Lisava station, the other two between Lisava and Gârlişte. The largest viaduct on the line is the 5-aperture Jitin Viaduct; the central aperture is a 34-m long metal apron, the centre pillars are 35 m high. The viaduct is built in a curve with a 114 m radius and has a length of 130 m. From Lishava to Jitin Viaduct, the train passes through 3 tunnels: Lişava, Maniel and Dollhoff. After the viaduct, it enters the Jitin tunnel (Seiler) and then the train passes through 6 tunnels until it reaches Gârlişte. Maximum traffic speed per section: 20 km /h.
  3.  The Gârlişte-Anina section, from km 25 to 34 (9 km). On this section there is a single viaduct, with 3 openings, near Anina. The Anina Viaduct (95 m) is still in a curve, with a radius of 114 m, a central opening of 30 m and a maximum height of 29.6 m, having a metal deck mounted in 1973. The Gârlişte tunnel is the longest (660 m) and the only one being in a straight line. It is followed by the 3 shortest tunnels of the line. The last tunnel is Slucht (60 m), near Anina Viaduct. Maximum traffic speed: 20 km / h.

The technical victories of the Oraviţa – Anina railway line impress both through the spectacular route and the story of the construction of the line. Thus, one of the tunnels is named after the architect Johann Ludwig Dier Dollhoff, who, having considered himself guilty for a first failure of the Gârlişte tunnel piercing, where the two galleries had not meet because of a nearly three-meter vertical deviation, committed suicide, throwing himself into the abyss from one of the viaducts of the line.

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