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The golden age



 
Train at Sasrét

Train at Sasrét
Fotó: Chikán Gábor (1995.04.)

After 1945, the system was nationalised and management went to the forestry except for the 400-meter-long branch to Szentmártonpuszta, which became part of the State Farm of Görösgal.

Horse operation was still used these days. The forestry purchased its first loco, a Hofher R-20-22 type locomotor only on 21 December 1955. This was previously used at the Kemence Forestry Railway and operated at Almamellék until being withdrawn from service in 1964.

In 1955, the first so-called MASZOLAJ wagons also arrived. These four-axle freight wagons were built at the Hungarian-Soviet Oil Industry Machine Works (Maszolaj) in Budapest and replaced the old wooden stake, twin wagons of Almamellék.

A draisine, built at the MÁV Északi Járműjavító works in Budapest with a 250 cm3 Csepel engine, was allocated to the Almamellék narrow-gauge railway lines in 1957 and is still in operation today.

In 1959, the forestry purchased a two-axle closed passenger carriage from the agricultural railway of Iregszemcse. The vehicle had a wooden body and had 14 seats. It was withdrawn from service in 1964 but was not scrapped. It was put back into operation in 1994 and in 2000 it was put on plinth in front of the former MÁV station.

The first diesel loco of the C-50 type arrived to Almamellék on 16 August 1962. This was previously used at the Forestry Railway of Vitézipuszta. It proved more reliable than its forerunner which probably ws the reason for retiring the Hofher locomotor in 1964.

On 11 December 1965, a locomotive of the MD-40 type arrived from the Mecsek Coal Mining Company. It did not spend much time at Almamellék as on 9 November 1966 it was transported to the Forestry Railway of Csányoszró where it was in service until 1971.

On 6 June 1968, a Montánia locomotor of the 40-HP type arrived to Almamellék from the Forestry Railway of Huszárokelőpuszta, which was withdrawn in 1970, after the arrival of two more type C-50 locos.

On 5 February 1966, two modern, so-called Dunakeszi type passenger carriages were introduced on the Almamellék system. One of these was built in 1963 and arrived from the Gemenc Forestry Railway, the other arrived straight from MÁV’s Dunakeszi Workshops where it was built in 1965. Still in use, these four-axle carriages have electric lights and heating stoves and can seat 22 people with standing room for 26 more passengers. Until the closure of the standard-gauge line, workers of the Almamellék line often joked the MÁV employees that their trains still only had wooden seating while the narrow-gauge trains had leather seats.

The main line was realigned on several occasions. In 1958, a section of 750 meters had to be routed higher to enable the construction of the fish breeding lake at Szentmártonpuszta. As of 1961, wooden sleepers have constinuously been replaced by concrete crossties. Light-weight rails weighing 5 kg/m were replaced by heavier rails of 9 kg/m, obtained from the Forestry Railway of Devecser which was lifted. In 1962, the trackwork of the terminus at Almamellék was revamped to create the layout seen today, with a turning triangle. Beginning in 1965, wooden culverts were replaced by concrete pipes and wooden bridges gave way to steel reinforced concrete structures. On 12 April 1962, the railway was reclassified as a limited public transportation operation and scheduled passenger services have been operated since this date.

This period also saw many changes to the line network. In 1952, the Lukafa branch was dismantled but in 1961-1962 the first kilometer of this was relaid. Also in 1961-1962, the Sasrét branch was extended by 1000 meters to the sawmill.

The Terecsény branch was extended by a few hundred meters on several occasions (in 1947, 1957, 1970 and 1975). Several smaller extensions also happened on the branches to Koltz-gödör and Kisterecseny. However, both of these were lifted in 1975. The branch to Kápolnás was built in 1975, branching off the Terecseny line at km post 34,6. Both were dismantled in 1984. Only 150 meters of the Terecseny line remain, which was used to store the MASZOLAJ wagons until 1999.

In 1972, the branch line to Szentmártonpuszta was dismantled. In 1975, 900 meters of the  branch to Csikórét were relaid but lifted again in 1983, leaving only a 50-meter-long spur.

On 1 January 1977, the Kaposvár-Szigetvár railway line of MÁV was closed, seriously affecting operations of the Almamellék narrow-gauge line, as well as the everyday life of the region. Since this date, the narrow-gauge railway has no contact to the national railway network and functions as in island operation. The standard-gauge line was used in 1977 to film the Hungarian movie Kihajolni veszélyes (Do not lean out!) which also contains scenes from the narrow-gauge railway. MÁV lifted the track only afterwords but the road crossing behind the former Almamellék MÁV station still contains the standard-gauge rails, covered by asphalt.

Freight traffic on the narrow-gauge line started declining in the 1960s. This is when modern road trucks started appearing in larger numbers and when building of the forestry approach road network began on a national level.

By the mid 1980s the Almamellék narrow-gauge operations, situated in the center of the handicapped, small village region of the Zselicség, shrunk to a fragment of their former self and in economic terms the system was not profitable. Surprisingly, it still managed to overcome the difficulties. How that was possible is a complicated story.

Legutóbbi módosítás: 2011.04.17. 09:53

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