Mocanita and The Inclined Plane – a Unique Technical Monument in Europe
This post is also available in: Română
|Location||Covasna, Romania, Europe|
|Running program diesel locomotive |
Return ticket prices
Running program steam locomotive
Return ticket price
Departures: In front of Hotel Clermont 09 – 18 every hour
|Surrounds the Commandau and Covasna on a railway section between the inclined plane and Covasna railway station. |
The route is 4 km long
What is Mocanita?
- A Mocăniță is a narrow-gauge railway in Romania. Archetype, they are situated in mountainous areas and the locomotives operating on them (which themselves can also be referred to as mocanitas) are steam-powered. These railways were built for cargo and passenger services – some in the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, before 1920 – but fell into disrepair over the years. Some are now being rehabilitated for the purposes of tourism.
- The word mocăniță is a term of endearment, derived from the Romanian word mocan, meaning shepherd or one who lives in the mountains.
- If you arrive by your own car, you will find plenty of parking places around the motel’s starting point
What is an inclined plane?
- The inclined plane is a unique technical monument in Europe, considered one of the wonders of the world’s 19th-century technique
- To transport wagons loaded with wood on a slope without using any other energy sources. Plan inclined uses only gravity force.
- ‘Covasna’s inclined plane’ ‘(‘Șiclăul, as it is known locally), was designed by engineer Emil Lux in 1886, at the initiative of lumber mill owner David Horn near the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Romania. The railway’s main purpose was to increase wood supply and timber transportation. A narrow-gauge railway (760 mm) Comandău – Covasna was therefore built between 1889 and 1891.
- The train operated by allowing the weight of a loaded train to pull a lighter, empty train up the slope. A metal cable connected the two trains. The operation was controlled from the control room located in the top station. Trains ran on a normal track gauge (1435 mm). In the middle of the route a branch allowed the simultaneous passage of the wagons.
- After two years Horn transferred the concession to forestry company Ardeleana, formerly Erdelyi Erdoipar RT. Ardeleana was founded in 1890 and was owned by Groedel brothers. This company built nine railway systems covering a total of 118.3 km. To enable the connection between Valea Zânelor (Fairy’s Valley) and Șiclău, the Inclined Plane was inaugurated in 1890. The components were manufactured by Viennese firm Obach. The Inclined Plane was used every day for over a century (1892-1995). It transported daily around 30 cars, each having a capacity of 10m³ of wood.
- In 1995, only a few years after celebrating its centenary, the Inclined Plane underwent a series of unfortunate events when a powerful storm toppled almost all the nearby trees. In addition, in 1997 the top control station was destroyed by fire. A drastic reduction in wood volumes ended the Inclined Plane on 1 October 1999 (along with 32 km of railway that formed the last remains of the forestry railways system from Comandău).
- In 1995, a strong storm, almost destroyed Inclined Plane. On May 17, 1997, the command cabin from the top of the inclined plane was destroyed in a fire. Due to the intervention and help of those who worked on the inclined plane the cabin was rebuilt.
- Unfortunately, the railway is not visible anymore and the place has not been maintained.
- You can see the old trains when you travel with Mocanita.
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