Romania’s Semmering: the oldest mountain railroad

The first mountain railroad in Romania was built in 1863, during the reign of the Austrian Empire in Banat, the country’s western region. Located between Oravița and Anina, it is unique in Romania and falls into the A class category of historical monuments.

The Oravița — Anina mountain railroad is also known as Banat’s Semmering, in comparison with the similar, but famous Austrian railroad. Today, Banat’s Semmering is still considered to be a masterpiece in railroad constructions, unique in Romania and south-eastern Europe. It has 14 tunnels dug in hard rock, ten viaducts and four train stations, on a 33, 4 km route with a level difference of 340 meters. The railroad has cuts into rock totaling 21 km and support walls on a length of 10 km. But the great art of the construction lies in its slope of 20 per thousand, compared to the other railroads which have a slope of 14 per thousand.

The beauty of the landscape throughout the route is breathtaking in any season. “Throughout the road, the beauty of the landscape goes hand in hand with the thrills each unexpected kilometer gives: tunnels dug in the mountain rock, viaducts over deep valleys and open crossings.” says Prof. PhD. Gheorghe Popovici in his book on the mountains in Banat region.

Today, the train traveling this route consists of a Romanian diesel-electric locomotive, built specifically for the Oravița – Anina line and two second class wagons with wooden benches, built in 1914. The wagons were reconditioned several times, but the shell and the interior remained unchanged. Interior heating is on steam. The average speed is 17 km/ hour, the road from Oravița to Anina being traveled in two hours.

How to get there

By car, from Bucharest: Bucharest – Pitești: E81 road; Pitești – Craiova: E574 road; Craiova – Orșova – Plugova (locality in Caraș-Severin county): E70 road; Plugova – Oravița: 57B


Noblesse Guesthouse
Address: 51B Trandafirilor St., Băile Herculane, Caraș-Severin county
Phone: +40255 560 566

La Ponton Guesthouse
Address: 1016A Dunarii St., Eşelniţa, Mehedinți county, DN 57 – Orșova – Moldova Nouă national road
Phone: +40 25 231 49 49