In the summer, as in the previous years, I visited two narrow gauge railways for some voluntary work. One is the industrial railway of Szegvár of which I already have an older article here, the other which I started visiting in last summer is Kemence in Börzsöny. Thanks to the frequent rains the country was very nice this year, even though it gave us quite a mess to clean up at Szegvár.

Szegvar rail 2014
Szegvar rail 2014
Passenger service on the 20th August

Szegvár. From the previous years I remembered this place quite dry, even unwelcomingly dry and brown with dust filling up the air for any attempt of work within the track in some places. This year, however it was all green, giving an other problem...

Tracks in grass
Tracks in grass
Tracks buried deep in grass

All this foliage was a pretty nice sight, however it was a pain to remove from the critical areas for railway operation. Most of the work this year so concentrated on this, to clean up the whole five kilometres of the main tracks where machines couldn't do it. Thankfully most of the rails themselves were okay to use, just a few places needing attention.

Broken rails
Broken rails
Just the usual problem

Usually the most notable parts of the work with the track is replacing those few sections which for some crappy quality of iron silently decomposed and gave up. Thankfully there are only a few pieces of such disaster in the entire system, on the main tracks then apparently this was the last one.

Rails fixed
Rails fixed
It is fixed now

Above in the distance the shiny new screws hold the new rails we installed a few days before in the place of that mess. In the front, a missing screw replaced. I like to be alone, so to couple this with some useful work to do, I decided to stuff some screws in my pockets, take the camera, and walk though the entire track checking the fastening, and replacing anything missing. Meanwhile just experiencing the feel of the plains.

Szegvar bridge
Szegvar bridge
The bridge

There is a small canal cutting the area covered with this industrial track system in half, with this single bridge as a connection between those. It was renovated about two years ago, must have been quite a thing to accomplish by the locals! However it is critical for operating the rail system, and even others, such as the shepherd working here also uses it.

Parallel lines meeting in the distance
To the factory
To the factory
View towards the factory

It was not just rails and work on those, the place, if someone pays attention is quite full with wildlife. Deers and pheasants would jump and run or fly away frequently, various species of lizards rustling in the grass, wild mouse, and many other small animals would occasionally make slight appearances. I just was not quite in a "trigger happy" mood then to spend hours trying to relentlessly hunt some down with my photo machine, after all there was work to do.

The service train

Finally, that was about how we were moving around on the tracks doing our job, at least on the last few days when we already had the engines (which are just visiting for the event, the railway itself currently has no local engines). An engine is critical to move heavy stuff like a generator, rails, and concrete sleepers around considering the moderate distances on this rail system.

And at last, a little bonus image, from the other railway, Kemence, in Börzsöny hills. Quite a different one, and of even narrower gauge (600mm contrary to the more typical 760 on Szegvár).

Kemence EL-9
Kemence EL-9
EL-9 electric mine engine on Kemence

We use this battery powered electric engine for track maintenance works. Just if the exceptional railway itself wasn't enough! It runs very silent compared to the ordinary fuel powered stock.

That's it, for now. One of the things why I keep stuff here slow-going, sometimes I just more like to just drop and forget about anything having a display, and go out for some certainly useful work to these places. These railways are heritages which should truly be preserved, a part of our culture which we still have, but will lose, maybe forever, if we let them pass.

Referred artworks

  • Szegvar rail 2014
  • Moo
  • Kemence EL-9
  • Endless
  • Tracks in grass
  • To the factory
  • Szegvar bridge
  • Rails fixed
  • Broken rails

Referred articles


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