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Mocanita and The Inclined Plane: A Unique Technical Monument in Europe

Mocanita, Covasna – narrow-gauge railway in Romania
Steam locomotive
Unforgettable stories are hidden in the heart of Romania's natural beauty, and the cobblestones are the magical link between the past and the present. These narrow-gauge railways, emerging in the picturesque areas of our mountains, represent not only a mode of transport, but also a land of adventure. The Inclined Plan is a technical monument, unique in Europe, considered one of the technical wonders of the 20th century XIXth.

Tourist Information

Type Transportation, Technical Monument
Tickets / EntryThe engine does not work.
The inclined plane facility is abandoned but some parts can still be seen.
The steam engine in front of the Hotel Clermont can be seen.
Getting thereTrain – Nearest station: Covasna Hm.
Airport – Nearest airport: Brașov Ghimbav (GHV)
Location Covasna, Romania, Europe


What is a mocanita?

A mocanita is a narrow gauge railway in Romania. The locomotives are located in mountainous areas, and the locomotives that operate on them (which themselves can also be called locomotives) are powered by steam. These railways were built for freight and passenger services, some in the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, before 1920. Some are now being rehabilitated for tourism.

The word mocanita is a term derived from the Romanian word mocan, shepherd, or one who lives in the mountains.

Mocanita from Covasna

Mocanita din Covasna is a narrow-gauge railway located in Covasna county, in central Romania. This cottage is also known as the “Vârghiș Cottage” or “Harghita Cottage”

The Mocanita in Covasna was built at the beginning of the 20th century, in the period 1910-1912. She was originally created to transport wood from the area’s forests and later was also used to transport passengers and goods.

One of the distinguishing features of this roadster is the narrow track gauge, which measures just 760 millimeters (30 inches). This narrow gauge allows the crawler to move over steep terrain and rough terrain.

What is an Inclined Plane?

The Inclined Plan is a technical monument, unique in Europe, built in the 19th century.

It was used to transport wagons loaded with wood up a slope without using other sources of energy. The inclined plane uses the force of gravity.

The “Inclined Plan” from Covasna” (“Siclăul, as it is known locally), was designed by the engineer Emil Lux in 1886, at the initiative of the owner David Horn, near the border between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Romania. The main purpose of the railroad was to increase the supply of wood and to transport wood. A railway with narrow gauge (760 mm) Comandău – Covasna was thus built between 1889 and 1891.

The operating principle of the entire system was particularly simple, the ascent and descent of the two inclined platforms, on which the small forest tricks were anchored, being achieved only with the help of gravity. Linked together by a metal cable whose advance was regulated by a system of pulleys controlled from the control room located in the summit station, the platforms ran on a standard gauge line (1435 mm), the whole assembly is designed so that the energy of the loaded wagon going down, to be fully used for towing an empty wagon going up from the base station. In the middle of the Inclined Plane, there is a branching point of the rails, which allows the simultaneous passage of the two platforms.

The Inclined Plane was used every day for more than a century (1892-1995). He transported around 30 cars daily, each with a capacity of 10m³ of wood.

In 1995, a storm almost destroyed the inclined plane. On 17 May 1997, the cockpit at the top of the inclined plane was destroyed in a fire. Thanks to the intervention of those who worked on the inclined plane, the cabin was rebuilt.

Unfortunately, the railway is no longer visible and the place has not been maintained.