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Sycultour

Forest railroad

A railroad constructed for an easier hauling of wood to the streams of Idrijca and Belca.

Description

The needs for cave-wood and wood for firing in burning machines for the acquisition of mercury demanded greater quantities of wood. In the 16th century people started building water barrages (the so called 'klavže') on the river Idrijca for the purposes of hauling wood. When wood started lacking in the vicinity of these water barrages, foresters started to look for wood in more secluded parts of the forest. For an easier hauling of wood to the streams of Idrijca and Belca, they, in 1820, constructed a railroad (known as 'lauf') on the basis of the cave-route in the Idrija mine. Constructing normally took place from the streams towards the forests, with the length extending from 2600 to 3000 m. The 'lauf' was moved to a different location considering the needs for wood. The route was constructed with wooden beams located 342 mm one from another. Between the tracks there were wooden boards, on which foresters walked and pushed the wooden carts. Afterwards they realized that the track was too narrow, therefore they reconstructed the 'lauf' to the width of 625 mm and put sheet metal over the wooden tracks. The wooden carts were also subjected to change, as they became bigger and similar to the old farm ladder-carriages (they were known under the name 'regljač'). The forest carts were 1.78 m long, taking into account the cart-shaft they even reached the length of 2.88 m. Each cart could haul up to 1 m³ of wood. Due to the uneven surface, the railroad track also included numerous bridges, the height of some reached 15 m. With the abandoning of hauling of wood, the 'lauf' also came to its end in 1926, after more than a century of its existence.

Responsibility

The information board was set up by Soško GG Tolmin, Slovenia Forest Service, Farmland and Forest Fund of the Republic of Slovenia, DIT forestry of Posočje

Role

The forest railroad ('lauf') was, according to the given data, the first forest railroad in the world, which was intended for hauling of wood, and is because of that, the same as 'klavže', one of the specific particularities of the region. The railroad track is in some places still visible. Alongside the river Idrijca, 3 km north-west of the river's confluence with the river Belca, there is an exhibition place where a cart, tracks and an info-board are set up, all of which represent a gallant solution of past Idrija's engineers. Regional importance

Potential usability

The abandoning of hauling of wood represented the end of the forest railroad. In some places the prints of railroad tracks are still visible. The covered exhibition grounds with a cart were set up just recently. The cultural value has a developmental potential, but not as an individual unit, but more in correlation with some other cultural and natural values in the vicinity (the river Idrijca, Divje jezero, klavže).


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