The story of a unique train
This year, TRAINOSE’s Rack railway completed 120 years of uninterrupted service. On the occasion of this special anniversary, our minds inevitably retrace the historic journey of this unique train.
The story of the Rack takes us back to time, when Charilaos Trikoupis visualized and founded the Greek railway network. As Prime Minister, he had foreseen the importance of the transportation networks for the economic development of the country and had placed emphasis on the construction of the railway network. Along with the main network’s construction, he pursued the construction of local rail networks, believing that the “small” train is more flexible –a highly important element for a mountainous country like Greece- and more economical to construct.
In March 1889, his government decided to construct a railway that would connect the station of Diakopton to the mountainous town of Kalavryta. The study commissioned to French engineers and it was estimated that the project would be completed within ten months.
Trikoupis’ vision was to extend the railway to the city of Tripolis, yet time delays and the cost overruns (almost three times the initial budget) did not allow the completion of the project.
The construction started in 1889 and was completed seven years later, on March 10th, 1896. The railway’s width is 75cm and this feature makes the Rack the narrowest railway in the world. The railway line is 22Km long and it ends at the town of Kalavryta, at an altitude of 750m. The Rack passes over 49 bridges and travels through incredibly beautiful places. It is justly characterized as a “remarkable engineering project”, in facilities that are “historical monuments”.
From 2003 to 2009, a radical reconstruction of the rail line, the bridges and the tunnels was carried out and brand new, modern railcars were purchased.Today the Rack continues to take passengers safely to a unique journey to nature and history.