Čierny Hron forest railway

Čierny Hron forest railway lies in Vepor mountain near Brezno and it connected two chief municipalities on Čierny
Zvláštní nákladní vlak z Hronce do Čierného Balogu s parní lokomotivou
ČKD č. 5 vjíždí do výhybny Šanské (foto Daniel Brabenec 21. 7. 1998).
Hron - Čierny Balog and Hronec. The track construction began in 1908 and the length of the railway net in surrounding lowlands reached in the end for 132,97 km. The railway joined the most important wood railways. In Slovakia there were about 40 wood railways, in Ukraine there was about 50 ones and in Rumania there was even about 90 wood railways.
Trains of the wood railway brought together mined out wood from surrounding to saw mill in Šťiavnička and in Balog. Then the sawn wood was transported to the transship point in Hronec, where a normal gauge siding ends. This normal gauge siding joins in Chvatimech the track to Banska Bystrica - Brezno - Margecany. On the little railway there was operated regular personal traffic too but it was stopped in 1962. Then here began asphalt wood ways building in spite of entrance of motor-cars and also of cheap oil. This trend led to railway's extrusion from it´s territory. In the end the operation was terminated on 31st December 1982.
The little railway transported 250.000 - 330.000 cubic metre of wood annually in it´s the most boom era and the railway transported also about 200 men every day. The operation was provided by 115 employees and there moved out seven steam locos to the track. Then here arrived also three dieselhydraulic locomotives Rába from Hungary.
In spite of the SSR government order the railway had to be liquidated completely till the end of 1985. All it´s arrangement - rails, locomotives, cauches had to be scrapped. Thanks to it´s advocate enthusiasm the railway's was succesful inscripted to the state sights register already in 1982. In 1983 there arosed voluntary work camp "The Tree of The Life". This camp functions till nowadays. The seat of the camp is in Vydrov lowlands and workers help in railway reconstruction and operation.
The festive operation initiation was on 1st May 1992, it was provided with a ride of steam train to Vydrov lowlands.
Lokomotiva Schoschewer přejíždí v čele osobního vlaku most
přes Čierny Hron za obcí Hronec (19. 7. 1997).
One year later there started operating also on the chief track section from Čierny Balog to Hronec. The railway holder is Municipality association Mikroregion Čierny Hron from 1995.
At present the railway operates through season from 1st May till 30th September or on special order at any time off-season. The transport is provided with diesel-elektric locomotives BNE 50, dieselhydraulic locos BN 60 H, DH 120 and with two steam locomotives ( CKD C760/90d n.5 - produced in 1948 and Smoschewer - produced in 1921 ), they ride with historical coaches in section Čierny Balog - Hronec (10,7 km). In special occasion there discover bun trucks on the railway too. The operation is very wanted from customers, but there is insufficient coaches capacity. There will come 3 fouraxles coaches to Balog from Hungary and thereby it would be the capacity solution.
There is planned a regular personal also goods transport all the year in future. The holders count with the restoration of the section Hronec - Chvatimech (2 km), Čierny Balog - Dobroč (4 km), Hronec - Osrblie (7 km) and Čierny Balog - Vydrovo (5 km). These sections would helped both local transport and tourism development.
From the first half of ninetieth there change also the little railway´s object in Balog. The railway transformed from forest railway to the track with seasonal tourist transport. That´s why the face of the station in Balog is changing too, there newly in 1998 acceded perch platform near 2nd rail for better enter to trains.
Also coaches and engines change. The locos BNE 50 have electrodynamic brake, there acceded two coaches Balm from Jindřichův Hradec, unmaded after accident near Chvalkov. There came also 11 freight cars and one personal coach from Hungary. These coaches had been completed with eight others of the same type on December 1998. A functionless steam loco ČKD n.1 was rented to Trenčianská Teplá where it will be repaired and then it will serve to historical rides on local narrow gauge railway.

Text and photo Daniel Brabenec

Parní lokomotiva ČKD č. 7 před výpravní budovou v Čiernom Balogu
(17. 7. 1998)
Dieselhydraulická lokomotiva Rába M 042 u výpravní budovy
v Čiernom Balogu (7. 8. 1996)

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