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Published on Aug 12, 2010
VISEU DE SUS ... (formerly CFF, then Viseuforest, now R.G. Holz) ... close to the Ukraine border, in the Maramures, it is the only remaining, working narrow gauge forestry railway of many that were constructed to transport timber from the vast, remote forests of the Carpathians and their foothills. This 760mm gauge forestry system starts at the timber yards and sawmill to the north of this town with a long tradition of woodworking and logging. The railway climbs for 41km following the often very narrow Vaser valley deep into the forests of the Maramures Mountains. Logs were originally floated down the river aided by a series of sluices which were used to regulate the flow and level of the river. The railway was constructed in 1932 and follows a course which soon becomes little more than a ledge above the river, and in one place there are a series of short tunnels.
The CFF was privatized in 1999 and operations were shared between 'Viseuforest' which occupied the former shed and workshops, and a private Swedish-owned company, 'R.G.Holz' which established sidings and facilities about 1km further along the line and brought in two former CFF diesels and a steam locomotive. At the same time a dedicated group of enthusiasts from Switzerland became involved in the preservation and running of the railway. The 'Wassertalbahn' group has subsequently been influential in rejuvenating the railway, and establishing projects to attract enthusiasts and tourists with a view to increasing employment in the valley.