On 18th December 2013 Move on green project partners from Burgenland (Austria) visited Vidzemes Planning Region (VPR) to get acquainted with VPR’s good practice – narrow-gauge railway Banitis (you can have access to the full GP sheet on MOG website). Banitis has been chosen as an example of good practice because it combines preservation of historic heritage, tourism development and environment friendly transportation. Austrian partners showed interest in it because they also have railway line which future is now under discussion.
Content of the study visit:
During the study visit, partners met with “Gulbene – Alūksne banitis” Ltd team and representatives from the local municipality Gulbene. Board member Aldis Kreislers presented the history of narrow-gouge railway, its main activities, the funding they received and the future plans and projects.
“Gulbene – Aluksne banitis” Ltd is a private train operating company founded by local governments, Latvian Railwaymen Society and six individuals on 20th February 2001.
The company has been operating regular daily passenger services between Gulbene and Aluksne together with special trains. Company has worked hard to develop the railway both as an essential transport facility and as a tourist attraction, and great care has been taken to preserve the historic railway infrastructure, locomotives and rolling stock which have been restored, with the help of enthusiastic volunteers.
For transportation, they use 20th century diesel-electric and wood-fuel locomotives and wagons. “Gulbene – Aluksne banitis”, Ltd organizes attractive shows and events, also offers excursion around the depot and ride on a hand driven trolley.
Finally, the expert’s team went to a trip by „Gulbene – Aluksne banitis”.