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Narrow Gauge Railway

Anykščiai Railway Station is a unique technical, architectural and cultural monument of the 19th and 20th centuries. Historical two-storey station building, residential houses for railway workers, water tower, storehouse, spacious cobbled square and steel bridge over the River Šventoji have been preserved up to the present day.

In 2003, using the European Union funds and the support from the Lithuanian Government, a modern pavilion was built to exhibit the collection of the station – inventory, which includes a locomotive, manufactured by Skoda factory in Czechoslovakia in 1949, and brought to the museum from Švenčionėlia; travelling necessities, signal means for communication, torches, whistles and impressively large scales, to mention but a few. Visitors are invited to listen to interesting stories about the narrow gauge railway.

Narrow Gauge Railway of Aukštaitija has a rich history. Its mission has changed several times over the course of the time.

The construction of narrow gauge railway was completed over several stages. Started in 1891, the first 750mm wide section was opened in November 11, 1895 to connect Švenčionėliai and Pastovai.

In 1898 narrow gauge railway reached Panevėžys and first trains were launched in autumn 1899. Initially, both cargoes and passengers were carried by this narrow gauge railway.

In 1916 German Army laid two new sections of 600mm width: Gubernija-Pasvalys and Joniškis-Žeimelis. The interwar period was the time of prosperity of narrow gauge railway. It was widely used in different fields of the country’s economy. In the independent Lithuania (1920-1938) local municipalities contributed substantially to the development of the narrow gauge railway network. At that time Panevėžys was the centre of the region. Therefore a direct link to Panevėžys was necessary to export flax, bacon, grain, and to supply timber and flour from the regional centre to local areas.

For some period of time, after regaining the independence, narrow gauge railway functioned as a part of the company called Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways). In 1999, the carrying of freight was stopped. On November 1, 1999 a new structural department was established within the Board of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, called Narrow Gauge Railway.

In 2001 narrow gauge railway was closed to passengers. In 1996 it was given a status of national technical heritage and started functioning as historical tourist train. The interest in Narrow Gauge Railway of Aukštaitija has been growing significantly. From 2006 onwards, its regular trips have been reopened to passengers.

It presently operates between Panevėžys and Rubikiai (68.4 km - 43 miles,) running past Taruškos, Raguvėlė, Surdegis, Troškūnai, Anykščiai and Bičionys.

The complex of Narrow Gauge Railway of Aukštaitija, including stations and road structures, is a highly valuable object of country’s historical and cultural heritage.

In 2003 some objects of the complex were declared as the cultural heritage. In 2005 a partial financing of Narrow Gauge Railway of Aukštaitija was initiated to declare it as an object of cultural heritage.

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