This website is an archive from 2016

This site was actively maintained from 2006 to 2016. Since then I have kept it online for historical interest, but have made no further updates. Much of the information in these pages is now incorrect or obsolete.

A slow train through Bulgaria

04 August 2007

Regular readers will know that one of my favourite train rides in the Balkans is the narrow-gauge railway from Septemvri to Bansko and Dobrinishte, in the mountains of southwestern Bulgaria. You can find a short description in my page about scenic railways in the Balkans.

I’ve just come across a much more detailed account of a journey on this line by Andrew Grantham, who did the trip in June 2006. It’s a few years now since I was there myself, so I was glad to read that most things remain the same, including the women in brightly-patterned dresses who get on and off at some of the most remote halts.

I hadn’t realised until reading this aricle that there was once another narrow-gauge railway connecting Rila monastery with the main Sofia-Thessaloniki line. Apparently it closed in the 1960s. As Andrew says, if it had survived it might now be a popular tourist route.