Timeline of Orava Forest Railway history
Railway construction plan prepared1916
Orava Compossessorate planned a construction of a forest railway in order to transport timber from the properties of Mútne and Zákamenné.
Construction of the railway1918
Railway track with a super elevation of 760 m.a.s.l. was built between the villages of Lokca and Oravská Lesná. The construction was realized by Nagy és Radó Company from Budapest, with a labour force of Italian prisoners of war. However, this track was not connected with the main railway network of the country. Railway administration, train depot and locomotive shed were located in Lokca. These were in operation until 1931.
Plans of connection with a local public railway1921
Orava Compossessorate initiated a connection plan of the forest railway with the local public railway. Two variants were in consideration – first plan suggested a connection to Oravský Podzámok via Príslop Mountain, another one via Námestovo to Tvrdošín. Both plans were dismissed due to high costs.
Intention to connect Orava Forest Railway with Kysuce railway1924
The idea of connecting the Orava Forest Railway with a similar forest railway in the Kysuce region arose.
Connection with the Kysuce railway1925
Company of Ing. Edmund and Ladislav Gál from Ružomberok worked out a plan of connection with the Kysuce forest railway. After its realization, rail transport network between Orava and Kysuce was created.
Tanečník Station built1926
Orava Compossessorate initiated a construction of the connecting section of the forest railway Beskyd – Chmúra. The track followed a switchback system. Three of the switchbacks were located right on the track, Chmúra Station and Beskyd Saddle Station were built in the other two switchbacks. In the same year, Tanečník Station was built in Oravská Lesná.
Railway operation permitted1928
In 1928, Ministry of Railways issued an official permission for the operation of the newly built railway track.
Train depot in Lokca closed1931
Lokca train depot and locomotive shed were closed and replaced by the new ones built in Zákamenné, in the premises of a former steam sawmill.
THE SECOND WORLD WAR1945
The dissolution of Orava Compossessorate1945
After the end of the Second World War, the Orava Compossessorate was dissolved and its forests were passed to the Czechoslovak State Forests. Orava-Kysuce Forest Railway ended up under administration of Zákamenné Forest Works.
Orava-Kysuce Forest Railway as a public transport1946
Alarming state of a public transport and roads after the liberation of Slovakia led to an idea of using Orava-Kysuce Forest Railway for passenger transport. However, this plan was not put to use.
Severe damage of the railway1965
As a consequence of natural disasters and a flood, Orava Forest Railway was severely damaged.
Termination of a commercial transport1967
Czechoslovak State Forests decided to terminate the commercial transport on the forest railway due to its technical obsolescence.
Liquidation of Orava-Kysuce Forest Railway1969
In this year, Orava-Kysuce Forest Railway was liquidated. Until 1972, the railway track was being dismounted with an exception of the connecting switchback section which was to be preserved as a technical and historical monument.
Tragedy on the railway1970
A tragic accident occurred on the railway. One employee was killed and three were injured.
Establishment of Vychylovka Open-air Museum1971
A plan for Vychylovka Open-air Museum by the railway was prepared. The museum is currently administered by Kysuce Museum in Čadca.
Kysuce side administered by Kysuce Museum1974
Preserved part of the railway on the Kysuce side was taken to administration of Kysuce Museum in Čadca. The Orava side was left without any administrator.
Saving Orava Forest Railway1986
Orava Museum of P. O. Hviezdoslav initiated systematic saving actions of the preserved parts of the Orava Forest Railway.
Orava Forest Railway administered by Orava Museum1988
In 1988, Orava Museum of P. O. Hviezdoslav took Orava Forest Railway into its administration and conceived a revitalizing plan.
National Cultural Monuments1991
Preserved sections of Kysuce and Orava forest railways were named National Cultural Monuments.
Orava Museum of P. O. Hviezdoslav and Kysuce Museum in Čadca made a deal about revitalizing of Kysuce and Orava forest railways.
Restoration of Orava Forest Railway1996
Railway army of the Armed Forces of the Slovak republic realized restoration works in the Beskyd Saddle and the bridge by Tanečník Station.
Restoration works cancelled1997
Due to natural disasters which resulted into a serious disrepair in Kysuce, the revitalization plan of the Orava Forest Railway was not finalized.
New revitalization plan conceived2004
Orava Museum of P. O. Hviezdoslav had a new revitalization plan conceived. Track restoration plan was prepared by Ing. Ján Špánik and Ing. Roman Ličko from Reming Consult a.s. Bratislava. INKOPP s.r.o. Žilina was responsible for the restoration of the objects.
Obtaining resources for the revitalization2005
Financial resources for the railway revitalization were obtained from the EU project “Realising the potential of Upper Orava in tourism by revitalization of the Orava – Kysuce Forest Railway connecting the regions of Orava and Northern Považie”.
Completion of the revitalization2007
Revitalization works which took place in 2005 – 2007, were realized by KOTEZA s.r.o. Vrútky.
Orava Forest Railway opened2008
Since 2008, the Orava Forest Railway is accessible to the public and its trains run from Tanečník Station in Oravská Lesná to Beskyd Saddle Station and back. “The Past and the Present of the Orava Forest Railway” exhibition was also opened that year in the area of Tanečník Station.
“Gontkulák” steam locomotive back on track2011
Steam locomotive ČKD 1441/1928, also known as “Gontkulák”, was put back to use.
Construction of the Goral Wooden Cottage2012
In the area of Beskyd Saddle Station, a wooden cottage with an ethnographical exhibition of Goral culture was placed. Its restoration project was funded from the project “Gorals of yesterday and today”.