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Diakopto–Kalavryta railway

Coordinates: 38°02′01″N 22°06′36″E / 38.033602°N 22.110070°E / 38.033602; 22.110070
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Diakopto–Kalavryta railway
LocaleCentral Greece
Stations6 (3 disused)
TypeAbt system
Operator(s)Hellenic Train
Opened10 March 1896[2]
Line length22.346 km (13.885 mi)
Number of trackssingle track
Track gauge750 mm (2 ft 5+12 in)
Operating speed80 km/h (50 mph) (average)
Route map

10 m
Palea EO Korinthou Patron
122 m
Vouraikos Bridge 1 (36 m, Start of gorge)
Start of rack
Tunnel 1 (44 m)
Rock shelter + Tunnel 2 (153 m)
Tunnel 3 (58 m)
Bridge 2 (21 m)
Tunnel 4 (24 m) + 5 (21 m)
Rock shed 6 (77 m)
Tunnel 7 (25 m) + 8 (23 m)
Bridge 3 (58 m)
Tunnel 9 (12 m)
Tunnel 10 (15 m)
End of rack
426 m
Bridge 4 (20 m)
Bridge 5 (21 m)
Rock shelter 11 (21 m)
Tunnel 12 (17 m)
Bridge 6 (17 m)
466 m
Start of rack
480 m
End of rack
Tunnel 13 (59 m)
Bridge 7 (13 m) 10.68 Bridge 7 (10 m)
Tunnel 14 (112 m)
Tunnel 14 (46 m)
531 m
Start of rack
Bridge 8 (13 m, End of gorge)
End of rack
Zachlorou / Mega Spileo
600 m
(Ζαχλωρού / Μέγα Σπήλαιο)
Bridge 9 (24 m)
Km 15
643 m
Eparchiaki Odos
Bridge 10 (28 m)
681 m
Efseviou Kipourgou
714 m
Engine shed

The Diakopto–Kalavryta railway (Greek: Οδοντωτός σιδηρόδρομος Διακοπτού - Καλαβρύτων, romanizedOdontotós sidiródromos Diakoptoú - Kalavrýton) is a historic 750 mm (2 ft 5+12-in) gauge rack railway in Greece. Located on the northern Peloponnese, it runs 22 kilometres (14 mi) from Diakopto through the Vouraikos Gorge and the old Mega Spilaion Monastery and up to Kalavryta, stopping en route at Zachlorou. Today, the stations infrastructure and rolling stock are owned and maintained by the GAIAOSE and the line infrastructure Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE) and passenger trains are operated by Hellenic Train.[4] At the Diakopto terminus, the line connects with the new standard-gauge Athens Airport–Patras railway; as of 2019 the new track is in place in a cutting through the station yard.


The line starts at Diakopto before entering the gorge of Vouraikos.[5] Makes stops at the locations "Niamata" (or "Mikrohelidou") and "Triklia". Between Niamata and Triklia there was an old stop (closed in 1960) at the kilometre 8.14 (the old stop Triklia). In the middle of the route, after 12.6 kilometres (7.8 mi), it makes a stop in the village of Kato Zachlorou, while at this point it serves the visitors of the historic Monastery of the Great Cave.[5] Then, after 18.2 kilometres (11.3 mi) of route, it makes a stop southeast under the village of Kerpini, where you pass, but do not stop at "Kerpini railway station" (formerly "Rallia"), and finally ends in Kalavrita. The line has 9 level crossings (with 6 asphalt roads and 3 dirt roads) of which 3 are guarded (one in Diakopto, one near Kerpini Station and one in Kalavrita).


The main stations on the Diakopto–Kalavryta railway are:


Work began on the line in 1885. The line opened on 10 March 1896, as a branch line of the Piraeus, Athens & Peloponnese Railways (SPAP)[6] when the 750 mm (2 ft 5+12 in) gauge line was completed in 1895. The line opened under the government of Theodoros Diligiannis[7] however, work had been authorised by Charilaos Trikoupis government, as part of the grand project to connect all of Greece by rail.[8] The line was built by French company ATON,[9] with the assistance of Italian craftsmen who had acquired great experience in similar projects in the Alps. The construction of the network began in 1889 and was completed in 1895.[8] It was one of the most difficult projects for its time due to the very inaccessible terrain but also the high altitude at which it ended, as the Odontotos is the steepest railway in Greece. The railway includes three stretches of rack: where the gradient exceeds 10%, gear wheels on the train engage with toothed rails in the centre of the track. The railway crosses the Vouraikos gorge passing through a long length of tunnels and bridges.

The line was scheduled to be electrified, and the electric motors were ordered by the French company Billard. Prior to the arrival of these machines, the plans for electrification of the line had been abandoned, so they were not used. As a rough solution, an electric motor was added which transported a converter to a diesel one, between two wagons.

Due to growing debts, the SPAP came under government control between 1939 and 1940. During the Axis occupation of Greece (1941–44), Athens was controlled by German military forces, and the line used for the transport of troops and weapons. During the occupation (and especially during German withdrawal in 1944), the network was severely damaged[10] by both the German army and Greek resistance groups. The track and rolling stock replacement took time following the civil war, with normal service levels resumed around 1948. In 1954 SPAP was nationalized once more. In 1962 the SPAP was amalgamated into SEK.[11] In 1970 OSE became the legal successor to the SEK, taking over responsibility for most of Greece's rail infrastructure. On 1 January 1971 the station, and most of the Greek rail infrastructure, was transferred to the Hellenic Railways Organisation S.A., a state-owned corporation. Freight traffic declined sharply when the state-imposed monopoly of OSE for the transport of agricultural products and fertilisers ended in the early 1990s. Many small stations of the network with little passenger traffic were closed down. Between 2007 and 2009 all the rails and rack sections were replaced, and four new Diesel-electric trains were introduced.[12] In 2009, with the Greek debt crisis unfolding OSE's management was forced to reduce services across the network.[13] Timetables were cut back and routes closed, as the company attempted to reduce overheads.

In 2016[14] to celebrate 120 years of railways in Greece, the Kalavryta station welcomed the mayor of Kalavrita George Lazouras, the philharmonic and trains of three different eras, and the album about the Cog Railway, written by George Nathainas was unveiled that day as part of the celebrations along with a commemorative stamp.[15] In 2017 OSE's passenger transport sector was privatised as TrainOSE, currently, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane[16] infrastructure, including stations, remained under the control of OSE. In 2019 services were suspended due to a landslide.[17] On April 29, 2024, service resumed with 3 roundtrips 7 days a week and 2 additional roundtrips daily on weekends.[18]


  • Tripoli: The original plans of the line envisaged the extension of the line from Kalavrita to Tripoli, but it was cancelled for financial reasons during the construction phase of the line before any works had begun.
  • Agia Lavra - Chelmos Ski Station: Since 1996 OSE. has been planning an extension of the line from Kalavrita to the historic Monastery of Agia Lavra and the Ski Center of Kalavrita with a length of 4.5 kilometres (2.8 mi). In January 2021, the issue of extension entered the auction trajectory due to the celebration of the National Uprising bicentennial. In the first phase, there will be a bus connection of the cogwheel railway from Kalavrita to Chelmos Ski Station.

Technical information[edit]

Toothed gears

The railway is single line with 750 mm (2 ft 5+12 in) gauge. It climbs from sea level to 720 m (2,360 ft) in 22.3 km (13.9 mi) with a maximum gradient of 17.5%. There are three sections with Abt system rack for a total of 3.8 km. Maximum speed is 40 km/h for adhesion sections and 12 km/h for rack sections.[19]

There are many bridges over the Vouraikos River, numerous tunnels, and passing loops at Niamata, Triklia, Zachlorou and Kerpini. The rolling stock sheds and maintenance facilities are located at Diakopto; there were additional facilities at Kalavrita station during the steam era, but they are no longer in use.[citation needed]

The line was to be electrified and electric multiple units were ordered from Billard in France. Before the cars arrived, the electrification plans were cancelled and the electric multiple units were thus not usable when they arrived. As a makeshift solution, a power car carrying a diesel generator was placed between the two cars, a solution that has worked very well for decades.[citation needed]


Between 2007 and 2009 OSE undertook large scale improvement works and upgrades across the line, including bridges, enlargement of tunnels and replacement of the rack and testing of new rolling stock.[12] These renovation works on the northern part of the line involved the entire rails and cog sections were completely replaced and four new modern trains were constructed to replace the former carriages.[12] During which the line was wholly or partly closed.[20] As of Autumn 2016, there are three trips on weekdays and five on weekends. Passengers buying a round-trip ticket from Diakopto and taking the first train to Kalavrita were allowed to return later in the day on any of the other service.[citation needed] An extended service on weekends and public holidays is operated with two additional trains.[citation needed]

Rolling stock[edit]

The newer Diesel-electric trainsets from Stadler Rail
The older Decauville train in Vouraikos

Steam locomotives[edit]

Six steam locomotives were constructed specifically for this line, on a basic design by Cail (1891).[21]

Locomotive Type Supplier Year Notes
0-6-2RT Cail 1891 Preserved in good condition at Kalavryta
ΔΚ2 0-6-2RT Cail 1891
0-6-2RT Cail 1891 Displayed on a plinth at Diakopto
ΔΚ4 0-6-2RT Cail 1891 Displayed at the Railway Museum of Athens.
ΔΚ11 0-6-2RT Krupp 1891 Boiler with superheater
ΔΚ-8005 0-6-2RT SPAP Piraeus Works 1954

Diesel trainsets[edit]

The first batch of modern rolling stock for the Diakopto–Kalavryta railway consists of three Diesel-electric trainsets (Class 3001) built by Billard in 1958. They were numbered ΑΔΚ 01 to ΑΔΚ 03, later renumbered as ΑΒδφπτ 3001 to ΑΒδφπτ 3003. Three similar trainsets (Class 3004) built by Decauville were added in 1967. They were numbered ΑΒδφπτ 3004 to ΑΒδφπτ 3006. These trainsets, both types of similar configuration, consist of two passenger cars (a motor car and a control car) and a generator trailer or "OPE" (Greek: ΟΠΕ) between them. In addition, a steam locomotive (ΔΚ 8003, delivered by Cail in 1891) is preserved at Kalavryta station and has been used occasionally for special trains.[22]

Four new three-car Diesel-electric trainsets were ordered from Stadler Rail to replace the old rolling stock and entered service in 2009.[23] These are designated as Class 3107.[24]

Train Supplier Year Railcars
3001 Billard 1958 3001+OPE3501+3001
3002 Billard 1958 3002+OPE3502+3002
3003 Billard 1958 3003+OPE3503
3004 Decauville 1967 3004+OPE3504+3004
3005 Decauville 1967 3005+OPE3505+3005
3006 Decauville 1967 3006+OPE3506+3006
3107 Stadler 2009 3107+3507+3207
3108 Stadler 2009 3108+3508+3208
3109 Stadler 2009 3109+3509+3209
3110 Stadler 2009 3110+3510+3210



  1. ^ "Home". gaiaose.com.
  2. ^ "Η πρώτη περιβαλλοντική αδειοδότηση του Οδοντωτού από το 1896".
  3. ^ Chainage of Km-Stones.
  4. ^ "Network Statement 2007" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-04-11. (1.29 MB). EDISY S.A., Athens, 2006.
  5. ^ a b "Η ομορφότερη διαδρομή της Ελλάδας". 2 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Η πρώτη περιβαλλοντική αδειοδότηση του Οδοντωτού από το 1896".
  7. ^ "Η πρώτη περιβαλλοντική αδειοδότηση του Οδοντωτού από το 1896".
  8. ^ a b "Rack Railway of Diakopto - Kalavryta - Greek Travel Pages". www.gtp.gr. Archived from the original on 2019-10-04. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  9. ^ "Η πρώτη περιβαλλοντική αδειοδότηση του Οδοντωτού από το 1896".
  10. ^ "The Rack Railway, Diakopto-Kalavryta, an amazing journey". TrainOSE. Archived from the original on 2021-12-10. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  11. ^ Ν. 4246/1962
  12. ^ a b c "Diakofto–Kalavryta Railway | Greece Activities". Lonely Planet.
  13. ^ "Σιδηροδρομικός σταθμός - Μουσείο τρένων". Archived from the original on 2021-10-05. Retrieved 2022-01-07.
  14. ^ "Ονειρικό ταξίδι με τον Οδοντωτό Σιδηρόδρομο (βίντεο-φωτογραφίες)".
  15. ^ "Ο Οδοντωτός έγινε 120 ετών".
  16. ^ "It's a new day for TRAINOSE as FS acquires the entirety of the company's shares". ypodomes.com. Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 14 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Έτοιμος να ξανασφυρίξει και πάλι ο Οδοντωτός". 10 May 2020.
  18. ^ https://www.hellenictrain.gr/news/anakoinosi-29042024-epanenarxi-dromologion-odontotoy
  19. ^ H. Pyrgidis. Railway Transportation Systems (Greek: Συστήματα Σιδηροδρομικών Μεταφορών) (in Greek). Thessaloniki, Greece: Zitis. p. 702. ISBN 978-960-456-155-1.
  20. ^ "Diakopto - Kalabryta project". Organismós Sidirodrómon Elládos (in Greek). Archived from the original on October 5, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2008.
  21. ^ Organ, J. (2006). Greece Narrow Gauge. Middleton Press. ISBN 1-904474-72-1.
  22. ^ Simms, W.F. (1997). The railways of Greece. Wilfried F. Sims. p. 55. ISBN 0-9528881-1-4.
  23. ^ "Diesel electric BDmh 2Z+4A/12 Rack-wheel train for the Hellenic Railways Organisation S.A. (OSE), Greece" (PDF). Stadler Bussnang AG. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-02-06. Retrieved 2010-10-06.
  24. ^ "References: Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE), Greece". Stadler Rail. Archived from the original on 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2010-10-06.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]