Hi,


To the previous part of the series:
Winter in Romania 2015 - 5: By Cozia to Cozia (50 p.)
http://www.railroadforums.com/forum/...-Cozia-(50-p-)


Link to the video:





February 18 2015

As promised we had some change for that day: after 7 a.m. the RG-Holz-owned minibus picked us up at the hotel train, other members of the group followed. The approximately 3-hour-drive would take us to the logging railway Moldovita ("Moldovitsa") in the Eastern Romanian region of Suceava. For the ride we had come up with the "Top Gear"-game, in which you had to call out "Top Gear!" for any Dacia Sandero in sight. Sadly this seems to be almost exclusively an export model, mainly Logans could be spotted as modern Dacias, apart from that just western (second hand) cars. Old Dacias, which were still quite plentiful around Cluj, are rare in this region – probably because of lack of cars in the communist past.
We followed the abandoned standard gauge branch line from Viseu to Borsa, then climbed 4545 ft high Prislop Pass between the national parks of the Rodna-Mountains to the south and the Maramures-Mountains to the north.

On the pass we took a short photo break, here a view south with ski resort and Disney-castle-like monastery. The visibly worsening road led us out of Maramures into the historic region Bucovina, where one of my grandfathers had spent the first half of his life.









Panorama of Maramures-Mountains with self-portraits of the photographers.




Downhill we drove through dense forests, apart from the occasional logging camps and loaded lumber lorries we did not meet much traffic. From Cârlibaba the valley is more populated again, at Iacobeni we reached the electrified double-track mainline towards Câmpulung Moldovenesc but did not spot any passing trains. Near Sadova we left the main road again, crossed another pass, then reached Moldovita.
Moldovita narrow gauge railway is operated by http://cfi.ro owned by the towering Austrian Georg Hocevar who greeted us and led our tour. The company is also running several other narrow gauge lines throughout Romania, as well as the only steam engine repair works without which no steam would be possible anymore in this country.

The web page about this line can be found here: http://www.cfi.ro/index.php?p=1_12

A few more historical details (in German, click translate): http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waldbahn_Moldovi%C8%9Ba

Two steamers working two photo charters awaited us. We already had paid for snow clearing, since it was not necessary we were offered a second train.




The signs at Moldovita hint at Austrian ÖBB-influence, the toilet still just offers a hole in the ground.









Wonderful winter steam.




These two engines were available to us: 764-431 (Resita #1136 / built 1954) "Bucovina" and 764-404R (Reghin #601 / built 1984) "Hutulca" (say: "Hutsulca"). The Hutsuls are an Eastern Slavic group living in the Carpathians who inhabited the region along the line as a majority when Bucovina still existed as a whole. On an earlier trip to Ukraine I also visited the area of the Hutsuls, but on the other side of the border.









Which engine is 30 years older? Well, the one to the right!




Steam shed work as I like it (to take pictures of ;-)).




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Something you find plentiful at Moldovita: horse-drawn carts!




The driver wanted to continue right away...









764-431 hauled a passenger train, 764-404R followed with a goods train.









The characteristics of the line are completely different than Vaser Valley, mostly it runs parallel to the road through settlements. Our passenger train was not entirely composed of authentic coaches, two had been imported from Austria and put onto bogies.




The light mood also differed from clear Vaser Valley, coal smoke from house heating provided a constant haze. Comment about this level-crossing photo: "That's like China!", which of course also applied to the atmosphere similar to a coal mine area.




Only shortly we passed between houses, soon followed the longest section of the line along the road to Argel.




We always rode ahead by passenger train, then did one photo run-past with each train per spot. Subsequently the trains stopped as a convoy.




Often the route was lined by alley-like rows of trees - at least on one side - throwing picturesque shadows.




We passed a few nicely decorated houses adorned by these covered wells typical for this region.




764-431 at the first short climb of the line.




Fences covered by decorative roofs are also common, a little later one of these serrated edges pointing down took a liking to a piece of my new skiing jacket...




764-404R - one of the newest steam locos built in Europe for regular service - presented itself in much worse condition than its 30 years older sister. But at least the steam billowing from every nook and cranny provided an optical spectacle for the winter steam photographer. Another horse-drawn cart followed in the background.




View from the rear platform of the passenger train.




Interesting use of an insulator as house entrance decoration - I also noticed that elsewhere in Romania.




The steepest grade of the line was tackled.




Somehow I prefer images of 764-404R, it simply was a greater spectacle.




At Rasca ("Rashka") loop this typical hay cart met us.




As you can see a hay stack simply had been put vertically onto the cart.




In the meantime 764-431 had troubles entering the second track (see video from minute 42:30), some of the icy snow had to be removed.




Made it, now the freight train could be positioned next to it.









The surroundings also offered interesting details.









This rustic stable housed chickens and cattle.




At first excited due to the crowd of photographers, then resignating.




To be able to continue a bigger obstacle than the previous had to be overcome.




The point was frozen and did not budge.




Finally it was forced into cooperation.




For a change we climbed the hillside on a steep, icy forest track.




We gained a wonderful overview of Moldovita River Valley, a tributary of Moldova River. At the house in front a horse strode into view.




Variation including following goods train.




It took a while until the whole group had boarded the charter.




Next we held our lunch break as usually scheduled on photo charters in Moldovita at a restaurant next to the halt "House of the Rasca Hunter" - the story behind it is that a hunting lodge of Austrian crown prince Rudolf had been located nearby.




Horse and sledge made the scene more photogenic.




We were served in an outside building, the main course consisted of roasted wild boar and mamaliga (polenta), with it once again afinata, although it was the stronger, industrial variation - no comparison to the tasty one at Viseu.




Despite of the noticeable effect of hard booze at noon I spent lunch break productively - others took a bottle with them for the afternoon.



Next time we will travel along the rest of the operable line to Argel in beautiful afternoon light and visit world cultural heritage site Moldovita Monastery. :-)