Transalpina Railway: From the coast of Italy to the mountains of Slovenia

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June 12th 2011
Published: June 11th 2011
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A close up of the train ready to goA close up of the train ready to goA close up of the train ready to go

The German Eagle wass right at the top of the engine
Shortly after arriving in Zagliacco in northern Italy, we spent a day going by steam train from the border town of Gorizia to Bled, a beautiful lakeside town in Slovenia. We were greeted by musicians and train attendants in traditional dress, travelled in 3rd class carriages and had a refreshment car with food and drink and a Slovenian Post Master in a special section to take our postcards.

The Trans-Alpine railway was one of the last majestic projects of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, completed in 1909 to link Central Austria, Bohenia and Bavaria with Trieste on the Adriatic. This section of the line has the largest stone arch bridge in the world (at 85m) and a 6327m tunnel (took 10 minutes) through the mountains at the end of a long climb up from the plains of Italy. The mountain at Bohinj is impassable to road traffic and to save the locals and occasional visitors a long detour, the railways run a car train through the tunnel 6 times a day, with the passengers remaining in their cars.

The journey was 140 km over 62 bridges, through 43 tunnels with the maximum slope at 27%. The former German engine, from the
First view of the river from the trainFirst view of the river from the trainFirst view of the river from the train

As we left the plains and started climbing the mountains.
museum in Ljubljana, was very powerful and traveled at surprisingly high speeds. We were the only English speaking non Europeans on the train but managed to communicate in Italian and Slovenian somehow!

We had visited Bled in 2009, on the way from Split to Prague, but were still taken with its beauty. This time we visited the castle, on a sheer cliff above the lake and on a tour around the lake, saw Tito's summer residence.

The one hour drive from Zegliacco was fraught with difficulties and we got lost trying to find the station and again going home. We came home with soot in our hair, our clothes smelling of smoke and everythign needing to be washed (us included) but it was a magnificent day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


The big German engineThe big German engine
The big German engine

Getting ready for the haul up the steepest section
A main line engineA main line engine
A main line engine

Imagine how it went in its heyday- imagine what t's seen!
Our travelling companionsOur travelling companions
Our travelling companions

We even had our name on the carriage window
Track maintenance carTrack maintenance car
Track maintenance car

It followed us all the way up and back providing good overtime for the Slovenian crew
The hostessThe hostess
The hostess

She was Slovenian and spoke Italian and Fruilian as well
Group photoGroup photo
Group photo

Big groups ( like Probus) book out whole carriages and have a great day.
Medieval festval at the caastleMedieval festval at the caastle
Medieval festval at the caastle

We happened to strike the annual festival day.
He wasn't very good -He wasn't very good -
He wasn't very good -

but he looked the part
Late afternoon across the lakeLate afternoon across the lake
Late afternoon across the lake

The castle looms over the town.
The real driver-The real driver-
The real driver-

they just didn't ask him to do the job. He was ready!!

15th June 2011

Train travel
Hi Lyn and Col Thanks for yet another interesting blog. We are interested in your latest trip so look forward to details when we get together. All goes well with us, although we had a few damp and cool days initially - aren't we lucky we don't have to put up with the bad weather at home. We are just on half way through our trip with six weeks to go. Plenty still to look forward to. Cheers

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