Winter in Romania 2015 - 3: Steam into Vaser Valley (50 p.) is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Winter in Romania 2015 - 2: Cluj - Viseu (50 p.)

Link to the video:

Resources about the Vaser Valley Railway:

Official page of the railway including information about rolling stock and hotel train

Map of the line, please click to enlarge

More information about the railway and its historyăniță (in German)

February 15 2015

Sunday morning on the way to breakfast this view presented itself through the corridor window of my sleeping car. One advantage of being in the west of the Eastern European time zone were convenient daylight times for photography from about 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., allowing comfortable photo tours all day long. Of course the sun reached some places in the narrow valley only later, some places stayed in the shade.

From the hotel train we had the shortest walk to the narrow gauge station, just across the lumber loading yard to the steam train and station dogs of Viseu de Sus.

The next two days 764-435 (Resita #1140 / built 1954) (more about this class: (in German, click "Translate")) was about to be our companion. Of course the name "Bavaria" is a novelty since the railway received help from Switzerland and Germany and has built up a tourist operation, as are the flags on the station building. By the way, the "L" at the end of Viseul on the station sign signifies the definite article in Romanian.

An accompanying coach in brown livery was coupled to the loco, then our green passenger coach, a flat wagon for the firewood necessary for the climb up the valley, as well as a few empty articulated wagons for lumber transport followed. Even though we ran photo charters, we performed real transport duties whenever possible.

A wall of firewood at Viseu shed - we will return later on, but now it was time to depart!

The first photo run was done a few metres further past some stabled draisines. Especially noticeable: A former Augsburg police van (registration number: RG Holz 01) which sadly had lost its blue light shortly before. Behind it an ex-ÖBB standard gauge draisine from Wels in Austria - "Rossia 2" - regauged to 760 mm.

Additionally, some stabled steam locomotives served as spare parts donors.

We left the station area. As you can see, bed & breakfast was advertised everywhere.

Concentrated at the workplace - engine drivers changed from day to day.

Half a wagon of firewood for our Resita.

At Valea Scradei we had the next photo stop - although it probably was a classic coffee-with-rum-stop for most of us, you could purchase it at the local "magazin alimentar". These small businesses owned by private persons and mostly inconspicuous from the outside can be found at many corners in Romania. Even on Sunday it was our first pit stop.

The only street running part of the Vaser Valley Line can be found here. The "vehicle" to the right - as we found out another time - was used as an auxiliary bogie.

We had another photo-stop at a suspension footbridge typical for the Carpathians, but since I took a better shot of it another day I won't bother you with another image in the shade. We left the end of the settlement behind us, lost the final bar on the mobile phone (no reception throughout the valley, the railway workers communicate by radio) and reached the...

... sun! At the Novat Delta where once a line branched off, sadly not operational anymore.

Steam- and tree-cascades.

We let the train pass several times, here before crossing the bridge. Sadly the environment sometimes is getting damaged by heavy machinery transporting lumber downriver - the train proves much more environmentally friendly!

Traversing Novat valley.

Braking is merely done manually, that's why one or more brakemen are working on the wagons all the time.

View from the other side of the bridge.

The fifth time I walked up the slope between trees, that way you could also hide some brightly coloured new roofs in the background.

Soon afterwards, near Glimboaca, we took water from a creek running into Vaser River.

Slowly the sun battled its way into the valley.

And unveiled a magic scenery...

For example this lovely wintery field... I hope I do not destroy too much of the magic if I mention the toilet facilities in the background (of course just holes in the floor). But just imagine it was a romantic lumberjack hut. :0)

The snow still was untainted apart from animal tracks... at the end of the week it would look like a battlefield, mainly due to another group which was about to roam about here the next day, but of course also due to snowmelt. So, let's enjoy and savour it as long as it is that beautiful!

Toilet hut successfully covered by train.


Behind Glimboaca we changed the side of the river, then followed a photo run and another at these icefalls. However, I hid them in the shade for this picture in favour of a better composition.

Icebergs and icefalls in Vaser Valley - no worry, we will capture them in detail another day.

What's the best way to shoot pictures at one of the most prominent spots of Romania's Wild West near Novicior? Well, with a cowboy hat on your head and an ice cold beer in the snow...

Turned around for the view of the bridge across Novicior River.

A branch line led to a private lumber yard, we would get to know this spot better over the following week. I digitally removed a prominent sign in the foreground.

One of the typical carved wooden gateways can be found at the same spot, too. In this case spanning the railway and welcoming visitors to Vaser Valley.

Behind Paltin we took a lunch break, I did not eat anything as those evening dinner menus would weigh heavily on my stomach anyway. Others, however, had to find some spot to free their hand for taking pictures. Additionally, I had to lend out my EOS 7D to my friend as his prime camera died just a couple of hours into the photo charter week...

While taking water another batch of firewood was loaded onto the loco as well, first throwing it off the flat wagon ...

... then the train was reversed a few metres to store it more conveniently on the loco or accompanying coach.

Water was being vacuum-pumped at customary spots, mostly frozen over this time of year. While waiting I managed to take pictures of these huge, almost wafer-shaped snow crystals.

Our young, energetic assistant on the locomotive.

A long passing loop was located here. We did not need it on Sunday as no production trains were running and we were completely free to use the line. On weekdays a different picture would present itself.
The tracks are often used as walkways - and as you can see even driveways.

Next stop was the nice hamlet Bardau.


Subsequently we passed through the three tunnels of the line, here smoke was still wafting inside the first one.

Exit out of the first tunnel.

Due to lack of sunny spots in the narrow gorge section we continued to the logging camp Botizu.
These are the engines that have changed life and work up here drastically. These "TAF"s are even able to swim downstream towing lumber! Sadly we could not witness this as water levels are too low during winter.

The train left the third tunnel - even if it is hardly discernible in the shade.

Shortly afterwards I broke through the snow cover with my shoes and was standing in the water - so, it already paid off that I had bought gum boots in reserve and taken them with me that day!


Once more miraculous icicles.


Spotlight just as I like it.

The final station in the sun of the day was Suligu where we stopped again to take water.

Next time we will steam to the end of the line near the Ukrainian border, spend a night at a campfire (not really ;-)), have a presentation of the classic way to cut wood and transport lumber down the valley ourselves. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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