Košice Children's Heritage Railway

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Čermeľ – Alpinka
Čermeľská železnica - narrow-gauge lokomotive "Krutwig" 03.jpg
Steam locomotive Krutwig
Košická detská historická železnica (OpenStreetMap).png
Line length4.2 km (2.6 mi)
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
Operating speed20 km/h (12 mph) max.
Maximum incline24  %
Route map
0,000 Čermeľ
2,060 Vpred
3,803 Alpinka
(formerly Pionier)

The Košice Children's Heritage Railway (Slovak: Košická detská historická železnica, KDHŽ) is a 4.2 km (2.6 mi) long single-track metre gauge heritage railway with a track gauge of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in). The railway was opened on 20 September 1955 as a pioneer railway near Košice in Slovakia and is still in operation today. It is located in the rural part of the city's Košice-Sever borough.


The KDHŽ was the first pioneer railway on the territory of the former Czechoslovakia and is the only one that still exists after the division.[1] p. 10 The construction took place between 1955 and 1956. Since then, four reconstructions have been carried out since 1973-1974, 1986-1987, 1990-1991 and 2006. The route is operated by the civic association Children's Railway Košice in close cooperation with the city of Košice and private partners. The route has three stations: Čermeľ (Čermeľ-Baránok), Vpred (Čermeľ-Vodáreň) and Alpinka (formerly Pioneer). The train journey takes about 20 minutes. The children's railway season starts traditionally on 1 May and usually lasts in late autumn. With the exception of the train driver, the ticketing manager and the children's station manager, the train is run by adults under the supervision of adults, with a break from 1990 to 2011, when adults took over.[1] p. 12 .[2]

Planning and construction[edit]

The idea of building a railway for pioneers of elementary school age originated after the head of the Košice Railway, Vojtěch Janík, had visited a similar railway in the Soviet Union. The construction of the railway began on April 17, 1955 and was completed on May 1, 1956. The construction was done in two stages and was built manually with minimal use of building mechanisms. Some rails, points and level crossings of the former narrow-gauge railway from Hronská Dúbrava to Banská Štiavnica , which was regauged to standard gauge in the years 1948-1949, could be reused. After completion of the first section Čermeľ-Vpred and some test rides, the steam locomotive U 35.104 Anicka was inaugurated on 20 September 1955. Less than a year later, on 1 May 1956, the section from Vpred to Pionier (now Alpinka) was put into operation.[1] p. 11

Steam traction[edit]

The rail bus U 36.004 initially operated on the line, until it returned to its original route on 16 October 1956, where it remained until its abolition in 1965. But just before, on 10 September of the same year, the steam locomotive U 35.103 was procured, which was called Katka ,[1] p. 28 and the steam locomotive U 35.104, which was called Štiavnická Anča. Both were used until 1961. The locomotive 35.103 was handed over to the Technical Museum in Košice, by which it was scrapped despite its historical value.[3]

Diesel traction[edit]

Diesel locomotives TU 29.002 Janka (red) and TU 29.003 Danka (blue)

Since 1962 the operation on the Čermeľská Railway has been provided by two motorized locomotives TU 29.2002 ( Janka ) and TU 29.2003 ( Danka ). They were built as standard gauge locomotives around 1960 at ČKD Praha with the designations T 211.0057 (TU 29.2002) and T 211.0071 (TU 29.2003). In early 1962 they were regauged to 1,000 millimetres (39 in) gauge and used in Nymburk. Originally, they were called Katka and Anicka, and the busy T 211,0071 was called temporarily Vlasta. In early 1983, the original Tatra 111 A engines were replaced by the newer Tatra 930 engines, after which their names changed in TU 29.2002 and TU 29.2003 and renamed the new names Janka and Danka, after the twins of Maria Ďuríčková's book. Due to the change in the numbering of rail vehicles in 1988, they were renumbered to as 701.952-4 (Janka) and 701.953-2 (Danka).[1] p. 30-31 In 2010, they received the numbers TU 29,002 (Janka) and TU 29,003 (Danka), which is now no longer used.

Difficult times since 1970[edit]

Open summer car

In 1973, traffic on the Čermelska Railway was temporarily suspended due to the poor condition of the line, but eventually the railway was rebuilt due to the great public interest. Some of the sleepers, rails and gravel beds have been replaced. Operation on the reconstructed line was resumed two years later.[1] p. 18, 27 A further reconstruction of the route took place between 1986 and 1987, when a large part of the tracks between the stations was exchanged. During this reconstruction, a tamping machine was borrowed from the Tatra Electric Railway.[1] p. 18, 27 In addition to track maintenance, the railroad also required regular maintenance of the two locomotives to maintain seasonal operation. Occasionally, the season had to be interrupted or even terminated prematurely due to malfunctions of both vehicles. After the end of the season they were always transported to the depot in Košice, where they were regularly maintained.[1] p. 30-31

Changes and stagnation since 1990, return to steam operation[edit]

The steam locomotive U 36.003 Katka , which was procured in 1991, is the oldest functioning steam locomotive in Slovakia and the symbol of the KDHŽ

Due to the political changes after the division of Czechoslovakia in late 1989, the name Pioneer Railway was first changed to Youth Railway and later to Children's Railway. For the same reason Pioneer was renamed Alpinka. This name had been used in the past for the region.[1] p. 18, 25 Due to the disappearance of the pioneering organization and stricter railway regulations, the operation of ČSD employees was taken over by ŽSR. In the years 1990 to 1991, the track system in Alpinka was rebuilt. During this reconstruction, the points that were no longer needed were dismantled. At about the same time, the original station buildings at all three stations were demolished. Subsequently new buildings were erected at the Vpred and Alpinka stations.[1] p. 18,27 In 1991, the steam locomotive U 36.003 Katka was put back into operation after a major overhaul. In the same year, the diesel locomotive 29.2002 Janka was stored in the depot of the ŽSR in Košice, the locomotive TU 29.2003 Danka served as operational support in case of disruption of the steam locomotive Katka.[1] p. 30-31 Since then, the traffic of the children's railway stagnates. On several occasions, it was threatened by decommissioning[4] In 2001 there was a change in the operation of the Children's Railway in connection with the splitting of the ŽSR into three separate operations. Since then, the line has been under the management of ŽSR, the operation has been taken over by the Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko, and the regular maintenance of the railway has been carried out by the Dopravný podnik mesta Košice (Košice Transit Company).[1] p. 59 In 2006 parts of the track had to be rebuilt due to extensive flood damage. The tamping machine from TEZ was used again for this repair. The work could be completed before the start of the season, and so the children's railway celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Current operation[edit]

Railway Station Čermeľ, 2007

In 2012, the operation of the railway was taken over by the Košice Children's Railway Coalition, which wanted to revitalize the route and at the same time set a new cultural center in the framework of the Košice - European Capital of Culture 2013 project. As a result, the official name changed again in Košická detská historická železnica (Košice Historical Children's Railway).[5] The association was able to resume childcare services, extend the seasonal operation into late autumn and organize a series of cultural events that took place for the first time in 2012, such as the July Theater Saturdays, Summer Cinema or fall events.[6][7] For the Nikolausfahrten 2012, which took place for the first time in the history of the railway, the diesel locomotive TU 29,002 Janka was brought back on the track.[8] The railway is currently running from the last weekend in April to the beginning of November, but traffic is expected to be extended throughout the year. The season is usually formally opened on 1 May by the mayor.

Rolling stock[edit]

Ballast hopper car
Historic passenger car ABC / u 600

In 1994, the steam locomotive U 36.003 Katka and all cars (with the exception of the gravel hopper car) were registered in the Central List of Cultural Monuments of the Slovak Republic. This happened after an unknown culprit had burnt down the ABC / u 600 car on 17 January 1993, but it could be reconstructed despite severe damage and has been used again since 1996 in the children's railway. This car is special, because it has three compartments with different classes.[1] p. 48-49


There are currently the steam locomotives U 36.003 Katka and U 29.101 Krutwig and the diesel locomotives TU 29.2002 Janka and TU 29.2003 Danka. The steam locomotive 36.003 Katka is in operation on the children's railway since 1991. It is the oldest functioning steam locomotive in the territory of the former Czechoslovakia. It was built in 1884 for the narrow gauge line from Gelnica via Mníšek nad Hnilcom to Smolník, where it was operated until its abolition in 1965, with the exception of the period from 1938 to 1949, when she was driving on the route Hronská Breznica - Banská Štiavnica. Since 1974 it was exhibited on a plinth in Spišská Nová Ves. In 1990 it was transported to České Velenice, where it was reconstructed to work on the children's railway.[1] p. 32-33 The 1990s, however, were accompanied by disturbances and frequent malfunctions. For example, in 1997 the boiler had to be transported again to Czech Veleníc due to the poor technical condition. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Children's Railway, it was exhibited in 1999 at the Banská Štiavnica railway station.[9] A similar locomotive U 36.0 (U 36.004) was used 1955-1956b on the railway. Currently, the conversion of another steam locomotive for the children's railway is being prepared. It is an industrial locomotive type ČKD 900 BS 200 Krutwig, which was mainly used in lignite mining and is currently located in the Museum of Old Machines in Žamberk.[10]


There are 3 open cars, 2 covered cars and 3 freight cars. The open summer cars were built in 1955 in Žilina by the conversion of older cars from the early 20th century. Two passenger cars and an open freight car were rebuilt. During the renovation, new frames were added to the original frames, also from Žilina.[1] p. 46-47

The historic D / u 841 car is the longest-serving car in Slovakia

The car D / u 841 is the oldest railway carriage in Slovakia, which still fulfills its original purpose. It was built in 1886 and came in 1955 to the then pioneer railway. The second company car D / u 840, which arrived at the pioneer railway a few years later, is currently being exhibited on a pedestal at the Čermeľ railway station. The car Ca / u 620, which came in 2013 to the Čermelska Railway, is partially adapted for the transport of bicycles. His re-inauguration took place on 26 June 2013. Since 25 May 2013, the passenger cars also carry names. Wagon names were introduced during a special event with a theatrical performance for children specially prepared for the occasion. The names are as follows:

Carriage Name Year of construction Comment
ABC/u 600 Hugo 1913
D/u 840 Janko 1913 Currently on a plinth at Čermeľ station
D/u 841 Peťko 1886
Ca/u 621 Samko 1910 Summer car.
Ca/u 620 Kubko 1913 Summer car, named after a gelding from the TV series Pásli ovce valasi
Ba/u 610 Maťko 1904 Summer car, named after a gelding from the TV series Pásli ovce valasi
Ca/u 611 Hubert 1913 Recommissioned on 26 October 2013

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Ladislav Olexa und Igor Reiprich: Detská železnica Košice, Mesto Košice, 2006, ISBN 80-969548-6-5.
  2. ^ Streka.net – Na Detskú železničku sa po štvrťstoročí vracajú deti v úlohách železničiarov.
  3. ^ P. Čeka: Košická pionýřska dráha padesátiletá. Dráha, roč. 2006, čís. 4, p. 8.
  4. ^ Slavomír Kontur: Na výhybke nádejí. In: R-Žurnal, roč. 1, čís. 1, p. 1.
  5. ^ Igor Molnar: Košická detská historická železnica. Auf: Článok Vlaky.net.
  6. ^ Slavomír Kontur: S novým dopravcom prišli prvé nevšedné zážitky. In: R-Žurnal, roč. 1, čís. 2, p. 7. Prejsť nahor
  7. ^ Kronika Detskej železnice. R-Žurnal, roč. 1, čís. 3 – 4, p. 7 (čís. 3), 4 – 5 (čís. 4).
  8. ^ Dvojičky opäť spolu! Lokomotívy Danka a Janka, vyrobené špeciálne pre bývalú Pioniersku železničku v Košiciach, sa stretli po 20 rokoch.
  9. ^ Peter Kalman: Prečo navštíviť trať č. 154, alebo čo všetko skrýva Banská Štiavnica a jej okolie. Vlaky.net
  10. ^ Ľubomír Lehotsky: Ďalšia para v Košiciach?. R-Žurnal, roč. 2, čís. 2, p. 1–2.