Narrow-gauge railway

The narrow-gauge railway in Hajnówka Forest District is one of the greatest tourist attractions in Białowieża Forest. Two routes are available to tourists: from Hajnówka to Topiło (11 km) or from Hajnówka to Leśna river valley (6 km).

The history of the narrow-gauge railway reaches back to 1915. During the First World War, when the eastern part of Poland was incorporated by Germans (in 1915–1918 Białowieża Forest was under German military management), an extensive cutting of forest resources began. A chain of sawmills, tar kilns and a chemical factory, the largest in contemporary Europe, were constructed in Białowieża Forest. To facilitate transport of timber, war prisoners and local inhabitants constructed a network of narrow-gauge tracts, of a total length of 130 km. The railway was operated until 1990s.

In 1991, on the 75th anniversary of the railway construction it was made available to tourists on the Hajnówka-Topiło route. And so for 24 years it has been travelling through wilderness of Białowieża Forest, presenting natural beauty of the forest to its passengers. The railway route leads deep into the forest, representing an interesting opportunity for exploring the nature. Currently, about 17 km of the tracts are used. The narrow-gauge railway trail starts in Hajnówka Forest District, where a railway station from 1930s was installed together with a small outdoor museum with a steam engine and carriages. Here we can experience an atmosphere recalling the end of the 19th century, filled with smell of grease and resin. The route leads then through beautiful forest regions, crosses the Leśna river valley and the Głęboki Kat nature reserve, up to the forest settlement Topiło.

Near the last stop on the railway route one of two education trails, “Forest Trees” or “Tracking the Spotted Eagle” can be explored. A place for a bonfire with shelters has also been provided near the last stop.

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