Oravita – Anina railway – The Semmering of Banat
Short history about The Semmering of Banat
The Semmering of Banat was part of the Oravita-Anina rail line, which is the fifth railway in Romania and the first mountain railway in Southeastern Europe, completed in 1863. Often compared with the Austrian Semmering and even called the Semmering of Banat because it was built a few years later, the two have in common superb mountain sceneries and the fact that they both are great technical achievements.
The route has a length of 34 km and takes two hours to cover it because the average speed is about 17 km/h. The route is an endless landscape, conquering the beautiful Anina Mountains through 14 amazing tunnels, 10 imposing viaducts, 89 masterly bridges, 49 sustaining walls and 21 km of skillful mountain cuts. For the construction of this railroad, there were brought engineers from northern Italy who used a special mortar for joining the stones, a mortar apparently similar to that used by the Romans.
At least, on account of this mortar is put the longevity and durability of this particular railroad as it has never been closed due to technical problems, only because of some occasional falling rocks. The train traveling on this route today has two carriages second class, undivided, with wooden benches, built in 1914. The indoor heating during winter is based on steam so, without a doubt, the journey is certainly very picturesque at this time of the year.
The most often used starting point of this route is Oravita railway station, the oldest train station in Romania, built in 1854, older even than Rome or Stockholm railway stations. Definitely, any train passionate or hiking lover should take this route at least once in his lifetime as Oravita-Anina is the perfect example of how man succeeded to master the mountains. The best part is that all this enormous project did not destroy the beauties of the mountains; on the contrary, it added that extra value which makes Semmering of Banat an amazing and unique destination.