A wonderful "rack railway"

[caption id="attachment_6562" align="aligncenter" width="1200" caption="The old Rack Railway steam train"][/caption]

The “rack railway” that runs between Diakofto and Kalavryta on the Peloponnese in Greece is made to give you pure pleasure. Going on this journey is without doubt one of the must do things before you die. Even if you are dead get someone to take your ashes or coffin along just to say you have been.

[caption id="attachment_6563" align="alignleft" width="1200" caption="The old Rack Railway Diesel train"][/caption] The Rack Railway was originally built in 1895 and is a testament to the railway pioneers of that time. You will be pleased to know that the old steam train and carriages have been updated to modern air conditioned cars with large panoramic windows. [caption id="attachment_6564" align="aligncenter" width="1200" caption="The Rack Railway"][/caption] Because the train twists and turns along a ravine that a mountain goat would think twice about the track is one of the narrowest in the world at 75cm. So where does the rack bit come in? Well here is the clever part. The train also climbs some pretty big gradients on its way to the top. To allow it to go up a cog under the train connects with a rack between the rails allowing it to do some mountaineering. Clever! [caption id="attachment_6567" align="aligncenter" width="1200" caption="View from the train"][/caption] The views from the train are stunning to say the least. Every few second’s people are pointing out sheer rock faces that hurt your neck to see the top, tunnels carved out of mountains and bridges over deep gorges. Best of all is that the train roughly follows the course of a mountain stream that goes from a trickle to fast flowing. The bolder strewn sight has three waterfalls along its length and even Shakespeare would have trouble finding the right words to describe its poetic beauty. [caption id="attachment_6565" align="aligncenter" width="1200" caption="The village of Kalavrita"][/caption] There are three stops along the way but usually no one wants to get off. One in particular is set in thick trees with tavernas perched high up over the ravine below. It reminded me of a tree village but there are far more discoveries to be made. Unfortunately we did not have the time to see more. The final stop, Kalavryta, reminds you of a Swiss village. This is not surprising as in winter the village becomes a thriving ski resort. Initially in the hot Greek sun this seems surprising but then you realise how far up you are and can imagine the gentle slopes covered in snow. [caption id="attachment_6566" align="aligncenter" width="1200" caption="The track through the mountains"][/caption] The good news is that having spent a few hours exploring the village you get to go back on the rack railway again salivating at all the wonderful sights you missed on the way up. The train is often full and pre-booking is essential. Booking beforehand secures your seat there and back. article by www.cygnus3.com