The Csömödér Forestry Railway is the longest one of its kind in the country, with its length of 109 kilometers, taking into account its branch lines. It began operation in 1918 as a horse carried railway to connect the local villages, and help the growing timber production industry. Soon, steam engines replaced horses, and the line was extended towards several destinations. The current Lenti-Csömödér-Kistolmács line is a 32 km long stretch that is open for passenger transport. The rest of the network is dedicated to cargo trains, which contributes greatly into keeping the line economically viable.
A special feature of the line is that aside from diesel locomotives, every second Saturday, a heritage steam engine takes the wagons on a historic journey. The engine comes from Transylvania, and bears the name Ábel, a true industrial relic on its own right. The train can carry special heated cars in cooler weather, and has a unique salon car for special occasions. The train runs from the 1 May to the 30th September, the line attracts more than 22,000 visitors annually, making it one of the top attractions of the region.
Sights From the Train
The narrow gauge railway can take you to places otherwise inaccessible. The line passes through the pinewood and the beech forest of Göcsej, touches the valley of the River Kerka. You will have a good chance of spotting wildlife from the train, namely wild boar, deer, eagle, roe deer. The train stations often intersect with hiking trails, so you can discover the rich landscape of Zala on foot. Csömödér is known for a fishing lake, Kistolmács is noted for its leisure center for active tourists. Lenti is the terminus of the line, where you can see the ruins of the castle and freshen up in the local thermal spa. Szécsiszeget gives you the breathtaking estate of the Andrássy-Szapáry family, and the historic Kerka Watermill.
The narrow gauge railway connects on several points to the main railway lines, so getting there has never been easier. We recommend the train to all ages and groups, let it be families, group of friends or experienced hikers. There’s something for everyone along the line!