Orava forest railway in Oravská Lesná


The Orava forest railway was built during the First World War in order to transport wood from the forests belonging to the Orava Composessorate. The route of the narrow-gauge railway (760 mm), which was then used only for rail freight transport, ran from Oravská Lesná, via Zákamenné, to the village of Lokca. Later on, ideas emerged to integrate it with the public railway infrastructure and as early as in the 1920s the project of merging the track with the Kysuce forest railway was approved: it went through the Beskyd pass (935 m a.s.l.), where the station was located.

In 1972, the Chmúra – Beskyd – Tanečník segment of the railway, the most valuable one from the historical and technical point of view, was granted the status of a monument of cultural heritage of the Slovak Republic.

In 1986, the Orava Museum assumed the management of the preserved fragment of the route and began a long and costly process of restoration and renovation of the Orava forest railway.

In 2003, systematic works on the reconstruction of the route were initiated. In 2005, thanks to the funding from the European Union, it became possible to realise the previously approved plan of rebuilding the forest railway, which was opened to the public in 2008. An exhibition was created as well, related to the historical context of the construction and functioning of the Orava forest railway, the history of the Orava Composessorate, and the ways of acquiring, transporting, and processing wood.

The journey to the pass takes about 20 minutes and it is a great chance to admire the romantic views of the beautiful surroundings. When the train gets to the upper station of Sedlo Beskyd, there is a break which allows the travellers to go up the wooden observation tower and look at the mountain ranges of Malá Fatra, the Western, Eastern, and High Tatras, and Oravské Beskydy.