Go to the Mountains by Tram!

A journey by a small forest train that used to carry timber from the mountains to sawmills can take your breath away. No, it does not rush like a usual train, quite the contrary – it is not in a hurry and encourages its passengers not to be in a hurry either but to watch, listen, enjoy and relax. It is a special pleasure to explore the surrounding world in an open carriage, feeling with your skin the sunrays and the raindrops, the breaths of the wind and the touches of the trees that are too close to the moving train.


First, we move for quite a long time through a wide valley of the area’s biggest river – the Svicha river. Solitary grey herons walking in the water seem to have already got used to the tram’s noise and take it for a huge living being, so much the better for us – we can take clear pictures of the birds against the picturesque landscapes of Dolyna District. Following the river upstream, we soon begin to pass by typical Boyko houses, viewing the fences and the yards where we can see cows, hens, geese and local householders absorbed with the hard housekeeping and farming in the mountains. We are passing by nice hills that are becoming higher and higher, the marvellous Shyrkovets Wetland and are entering the highland taiga – dense fir forests that could lead us to healing springs, the Mizunka waterfalls and further up to the rocky Gorgany Mountains.


The leisurely journey makes you take a special delight in being in the mountains as each fragment after the next turn is worth attention: a different vegetation, moss, trees, slopes, birds, and the Svicha river, which in the course of the journey imperceptibly changes its character from a calm lowland river to an impetuous mountainous one forcing its way through huge rock barriers. Pure air is our unchanging companion that sometimes even makes us feel slightly dizzy.

 

A Journey on the Carpathian Tram

The tram leaves Vyhoda twice a day at 11.00 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The ticket price is UAH 70.00.
Children – 50 UAH.


We can hear a locomotive beep, which means that the tram is ready to board passengers. It consists of a diesel motor wagon and two cabriolet carriages for 40 people each. Each car is equipped with a radio. Passengers listen to the history of the Carpathian railways from the tour guide.

 

During the stops on the way, you may drink natural mineral water directly from the spring. This water has similar chemical composition and healing effect to the water from Truskavets’ ‘Naftusia’ mineral water spring (Lviv Region, Ukraine). Taste Carpathian tea, ‘Medovukha’ alcohol beverage and sandwiches, buy some souvenirs. In summer, you will be invited for a nourishing lunch with (pork &beef) ‘shashlyky’ and mushroom soup and, of course, local strong drinks ‘Khvoyinka’ and ‘Medovukha’.

Unique Natural Attractions along the Carpathian Tram Route

Standard route (15km)

 

  • The Osiy Tract, located on Osiy Mountain covered with a coniferous-deciduous virgin forest.
  • Hydrological natural landmark of national importance – Shyrkovets wetland with dwarf pine trees (max. 2m tall) growing there. This pine specie grows on wetlands up to 300-350!
  • ‘Horianka’ (‘Naftusia’-type) mineral water spring and the clearest mountain spring - Dziurkach. You may start your hiking trip to Lysa (1159m) and Liuta Mountains from here.
  • Mizunka River Waterfall where you can swim in warm seasons. Carpathian Tram end stop.

 

On its way back, the tram has one more stop – near the old abandoned SPA centre, where the tourists can wander around the suspension bridge, buy Carpathian souvenirs and taste delicious snacks and drinks of Boyko cuisine.

Brief History of Vyhoda Narrow-Gauge Railway

The Carpathian Tram in the town of Vyhoda in Dolyna District, Ivano-Frankivsk Region, is the only operating vehicle on the territory of Ukraine that runs along the oldest and shortest of the active narrow-gauge railways in Ukraine as well as the only narrow-gauge line in private property. The narrow-gauge line and the diesel locomotive running along it, is a private business entity – the ‘Karpatskyi Tramvai’ LLC (since the summer of 2003) – as this line of the Carpathian narrow-gauge railway is used to transport the workers of the ‘Uniplyt’ LLC to the forest. However, it is gaining ever-wider popularity as a tourist attraction.


The history of Vygoda Narrow-Gauge Railway began in the end of the ХІХ century, when the Austrian entrepreneur Baron Leopold Popper von Podgari, who was involved in timber business, arrived here. The Baron opened the first sawmill in this part of the Carpathians in the town of Vygoda. To connect the wide railway with the mountains they first built ‘horse rails’ – narrow-gauge railway where horses pulled the wood. This track with a length of 3 km connected in 1890 the factory in Vygoda with the sawmill in Staryi Mizun. Later horses were replaced by steam locomotives, and the track length increased to several hundred kilometres. The decline of the narrow-gauge railway began in the 1960s due to the mass introduction of timber trucks. The remains of the railways disappeared in the 1990s. The track was revived by the Uniplyt wood-processing company, which restarted the transportation of wood and workers by the narrow-gauge railway. Now the total length of the narrow-gauge railway is 78 km, tourists are usually shown the first 15 km.


You can get a more detailed insight into the history of this railway while visiting the Vyhoda Narrow-Gauge Railway Heritage Centre and watching an interpretative film.