In Vouraikos with the Rack Railway: Travel in time
If you take a weekend trip by the Rack train along the Vouraikos Gorge, you will understand why it is considered one of the most beautiful train trips in the Balkans.
Having taken its name from ancient Boura, an important city that led the way in the founding of the Achaean League, the Vouraikos Gorge along with the magical route of the Rack train is one of the most spectacular natural sights in our country.
The River Vouraikos starts from the Helmos Mountain, near Priolithos village, and flows down to the village of Diakopton. The 40 km long river and a natural scenery full of steep ravines and luxuriant vegetation creates a magical landscape that magnetizes thousands of visitors from Greece and abroad, every year.
From the Alps to Kalavrita
Beyond its natural beauty, the Rack railway is a reason to feel enthusiastic in the prospect of such a trip! The Rack railway was a result of the highly ambitious plan of Prime Minister Charilaos Trikoupis, who visualized a railway network connecting every part of Greece in 1889. Experienced French and Italian engineers and technicians who had worked at the Alps’ railways helped with the construction and the Rack was completed in 1895. Its virgin trip took place on March 10 1896 and its honorary passenger was King George I himself. A remarkable detail is that its first engine was a steamer, and water towers refilled the water in every station.
Trikoupis pursued the construction of local rail networks, considering the “small” train as a more flexible mean of transport, flexibility being an important asset for a mountainous country, plus more economical to construct as well. The Rack is the narrowest railway in the world, with a width of only 0.75 m.
During this trip, you will forget that time even exists. After all, the low speed of the train (30-40 Km/h at usual rail and 6-15 Km/h at cogs) is a constant reminder of the reason you decided to do it: to put aside, at last, all the pressing things and abandon yourself to the absolute charm of the landscape.
The train departs from the railway station of Diakopton and passes along the Vouraikos Gorge. Within 60 minutes it covers the 22,350m. distance and reaches Kalavrita, 750 m. above the sea level. When you move, you find our wagons clogged on the “teeth” of the rail -tooth is “donti” in Greek and from these “dontia” the Rack took its name, “Odontotos”- as in some parts the angle of inclination is even 145°! You won’t know what photo to take first. Tunnels carved in steep rocks, the creeks and the superabundant flora will keep you glued on the windows, unable to decide what to admire the most. The low speed is not tiresome, quite the opposite, as you need time to take in all this beauty. At the site “Katarraktis” (Waterfall) the river is crashing almost vertically under the railway bridge, and at “Dikastiria” (Court) stalactites create an image of a natural courtroom inside a semi-circular cave.
Showing its teeth for 120 years!
The Rack, the most famous train in Greece, over 120 years old today, is one of the most discussed experiences in our country and attracts travelers and train lovers from all over the world. Nature, history and staggering landscapes create a unique scenery, a must-see for every sophisticated traveler.
Modifications or cancellations may occur to certain routes following government measures for the protection of public health. You may find more information on our website.