Rhodope Narrow Gauge Railway
The Rhodope Narrow Gauge is a regular train service of the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ). Operating from Septemvri to Dobrinishte with stations at Razlog and Bansko. There are 4 trains per day in both directions and winds its way through the Rhodope and Pirin mountain ranges.
It runs on a track gauge of 760mm and is the only railway in Bulgaria operating at that width, it is about half the normal standard gauge of mainline railways which has a width of 1435 mm. The journey time is about 5 hours with an average speed of 25 km/h.
Also known as the Alpine railway in the Balkans. The line passes through beautiful mountain areas with many scenic spots to admire and travels through 35 tunnels. The highest point of the route is Avramovo station which is situated 1267 meters above sea level and is famous for being known as the highest railway station in the Balkans.
The railway was built in several stages between 1921 and 1945 and has a total length of 125km. As this is the only narrow gauge railway in Bulgaria, the Rhodope railway is used both by local people and tourists alike, it has also been used in the making of many movies and videos.
At Septemvri it meets the standard-gauge railway, Sofia–Plovdiv line which creates a unique way of travelling to Bansko or Razlog.
A beautiful video showing the Rhodope narrow gauge winding through the mountains.
There are twenty five stations along the route, these are:
Septemvri - Pamporovo - Varvara - Marko Nikolov - Tsepina - Dolene - Kostandovo - Velingrad - Velingrad South - Ostrets - Tsvetino - Sveta Petka - Avramovo - Smolevo - Cherna Mesta - Yakoruda - Yurukovo - Dagonovo - Belitsa - General Kovachev - Guliyna Banya - Razlog - Bansko - St. George - Dobrinishte
The station at Razlog
Bansko station which is situated behind the bus station.