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Pelion Train Restarts Mythical Tour of the Centaurs Mountain in Greece

Pelion train
The legendary Pelion train crosses a stone bridge as part of its journey through the Greek mountains. Credit: SV1XV/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

The Pelion train, a historic steam engine train that crosses the mountain of the Centaurs in central Greece, resumed its seasonal operation on Saturday.

The well-known little train which delights tourists and locals alike has been revived for the Summer 2023 season.

The Pelion train is also referred to as the “Moutzouris,” meaning “turns things black,” a perfect nickname for a steam engine.

Pelion train back on

The train is unique beyond Greece as well, as the track is one of the narrowest in the world, measuring in at only 60 centimeters (23.6 inches) gauge.

Despite its small size, the machine is powerful and dependable, and following restoration in the 1990s it has taken countless people on countless journeys through the incomparably beautiful scenery of Mount Pelion, with views toward the Pagasetic Gulf as it journeys from Ano Lehonia to Milies.

Historic journey through the mountain

The Pelion steam train, with its unique narrow track, has a long history that has led to its renown today. The idea for the project struck in 1886, as Thessaly Railways had just completed a huge track spanning from Volos to Larissa.

The Pelion train itself started operating between Volos and Lehonia at the end of the 19th century, in 1895. It was then expanded to serve the rest of the current track, between Lehonia and Milies, in 1903 — covering a total distance of roughly 29 kilometers (18 miles).

The decision to make the train operate on such a narrow gauge was taken due to space constraints on the mountain, and the treacherous terrain found on it. The train, which stands today as a feat of engineering, continues to be one of Greece’s great historical treasures.

The train of Pelion deeply marked the history of the region. Until 1971 the train used to climb the mountain, carrying people and goods and contributing to the development of the region. It was constructed by the Italian engineer Evaristo de Chirico, who, using local technicians, designed and constructed one of the most beautiful train lines.

After its stoppage in 1971, efforts were made for its restoration as a touristic railroad in an environment of exceptional natural beauty. After major works for the reconstruction of the infrastructure took place, the train went back into operation in 1996.

Since then, the train has continued to pass through the spectacular landscape of Mount Pelion, which, according to mythology, was the homeland of the Centaurs.

Centaurs in Greek Mythology were half-man half-horse beings living in the forests of mainland Greece. The Greeks used them as symbols of the Other to represent barbarian people or, in the case of Chiron, beings of divine wisdom.

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