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Sycultour

Idrija narrow gauge railway (feldban)

The old Idrija narrow gauge railway, called the feldban, was built for military purposes during the First World War. Today its bed attracts hikers.

Description

The term feldban (from German Feldbahn) refers to a narrow gauge railway. The Idrija narrow gauge railway runs from Logatec through Kalce, Hotedršica, Godovič, Idrija, and Dolenja Trebuša with a total length of 63 km. It was built in 1916 and 1917 in order to supply the Austro-Hungarian troops on the Isonzo Front after the Italian army cut off the Transalpina railway supply route through the Bohinj Valley during the Sixth Battle in August 1916. The picturesque and technically most challenging 12-kilometer stretch between Godovič and Idrija was built in record time, from 1 to 30 September 1916. The track from Godovič partially led along the route of today’s road to Črni Vrh. It departed from this route with a sharp left turn 500 m after exiting the tunnel. The next 3.6 km were laid along the old “French road,” built during the time of the Illyrian Provinces. In order to traverse the 300 m difference in elevation down to Idrija, from here a new track was built, which went down from the “French road” first along an embankment, and then cut into the steep banks above Zala, the Wild Lake (Sln. divji jezero), and the Idrijca, from where it joined the road to Idrija near the plaque marking the spot where the Yugoslav Partisan Janko Premrl (a.k.a. Vojko) was wounded in 1943. Originally the train cars were pulled by horses, but later engines were used. The most challenging structures to build along the route were the 25 m tunnel through solid rock, the wooden galleries, and the semicircular curve on 10 to 15 m high wooden supports above the Strug Gorge. After breaking through the Isonzo Front in October 1917, the military dismantled the railway. What remains of the old narrow gauge railway is the bed, which can still be followed on foot from Godovič to the Idrijca River even today.

Responsibility

Role

The Idrija narrow gauge railway (feldban) is known to the locals and attracts old railway enthusiasts. Local importance.

Potential usability

The Idrija narrow gauge railway, known as the feldban, is not yet recognized or protected as a cultural monument. According to Alpine categorizations, the bed of the former railway is currently categorized among challenging, unmaintained, and unmarked routes. With suitable, minimal rearrangement as a footpath and the addition of signage, it could be included as a tourist activity; for example, as a half-day excursion that would be attractive to individual visitors, especially those interested in technical heritage. The narrow gauge railway could also be a stop during a guided tour of sights around Idrija and its surroundings.


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CTRIA HCC RoT Občina Jesenice CMS PAT PRA UNSPMF Chamber of Economy of Vojvodina