AFTER a winter break, one of Slovakia’s national cultural heritages – the historical forest back swath railway based at the Museum of Kysuce in Nová Bystrica-Vychylovka – will start operating again. The launch of the seasonal operation of this unique narrow-gauge railway, one of only two railways with the back swath system in Europe, is planned for May 1.
The programme will begin at 9:00 when the doors of the depot will be opened for the public to see the firing of the boiler of the historic steam engine U 45.9 manufactured in 1916 by the Hungarian state railways in Budapest. Then visitors will get a chance to ride a train drawn by the steam engine and experience the carriage’s old wooden benches. Visitors can also learn about the original function of the former Kysuce-Orava forest logging railway.
The museum complex will be crossed by a cargo train consisting of a steam engine and a set of cargo carriages. If there is sufficient interest, another train will be added, powered by a DH 120 diesel-hydraulic locomotive. Visitors will get to see the other exhibits of the Kysuce Open-air Museum.
This year’s operation of the Historical Forest Back Swath Railway (HLÚŽ) will mark the 100th anniversary of the U 34.901 steam engine made by the MÁV Company in Budapest in 1909. The engine is currently on loan until May 12 to the Čierny Hron railway where it used to run for 66 years until it was purchased in 1975 by the Kysuce Museum. It will begin operating on the HLÚŽ tracks after May 16.
The celebration of its 100th anniversary will be held in Vychylovka on May 24, the Day of Railways.
HLÚŽ will operate every day until the end of October. On weekends the train will be powered by one of the steam engines and on weekdays the diesel engine will be used, Darina Hnidková of the Kysuce Museum, told the SITA newswire.