Tisovec: depot renewal could bring tourists

THE LOCAL civic association Zubačka (Cog-Railway) will soon file a project application with the EU to reconstruct buildings in the complex of the old depot at the railway station in Tisovec. The reconstruction, worth about €3.34 million, should be the first step towards restoring regular traffic on the rare cog railway running from Tisovec to Pohronská Polhora, the TASR newswire reported.

A section of the cog railway in TisovecA section of the cog railway in Tisovec (Source: Sme - Ján Krošlák)

THE LOCAL civic association Zubačka (Cog-Railway) will soon file a project application with the EU to reconstruct buildings in the complex of the old depot at the railway station in Tisovec. The reconstruction, worth about €3.34 million, should be the first step towards restoring regular traffic on the rare cog railway running from Tisovec to Pohronská Polhora, the TASR newswire reported.

The initiators of the project hope to increase tourism in the town and its vicinity. According to Peter Mináč, the mayor of Tisovec, the initiators are just waiting for the official call to be published by the EU in May. If they succeed in getting project funds they could issue a construction licence this year to reconstruct the old Tisovec depot which will then serve as an area to support future work related to the cog railway, TASR wrote.

The depot holds the original water-filling machine for steam locomotives and coal bins and also has a renovated steam engine which could be a museum exhibit.

If everything goes smoothly, the project hopes to restart regular traffic on the cog railway, especially for tourists, as early as next year. Until then, two locomotives which were brought from Romania and will later be used on the cog railway will be reconstructed under the auspices of the Railway Museum in Bratislava.

The track from Tisovec to Pohronská Polhora is 16 kilometres long and has an incline of 5 degrees per mille. The first trains operated here from the beginning of the 19th century and one of the parts of the cog railway system is of a unique form not seen anywhere else in the world. The track was used for steam locomotives as late as the 1960s when ore for the ironworks in Podbrezová was transported on it. But the track experienced a gradual decline in later decades and was eventually abandoned.

The town of Tisovec and the Zubačka association organised the first historical ride for fans supporting the renovation of this unique cog railway in 2004. Since then, the train has been operating on request, especially in summer season, with mainly German-speaking tourists and school trips asking for such trips.

The cog railway system, built during the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, now exists only in four places in Europe. One such track was first built in Austria; the second just a little later in Tisovec.

The third one is in the Czech town of Tanvald and the last is in Subcetate, Romania.

Some of these surviving tracks are no longer in a condition where they can be technologically reconstructed.

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