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Fotó: Szűcs Zoltán József (2008.01.12.)

When trying to find the reasons for the survival of the Almamellék narrow-gauge line, it is worth drawing a parallel with the Forestry Railway of Vitézipuszta, which was managed by the same administration and operated in a very similar economic environment. That line was partially closed in 1984 and abandoned completely in 1991. It is likely that the most important factor in saving the Almamellék line was that it had scheduled passenger services. Although the Zselic hills were not one of the most popular regions, they still attracted some tourists to the area. The Almamellék system also carried some commuters, which was always visible from its statistics. Finally, the line at least goes somewhere: the Sasrét terminus is the location of the hunting mansion and a lake, so it is worth travelling by the train there. The Vitézipuszta system had none of these factors, which were probably the reasons leading to its closure.

At the beginning of the 1990s, the role of Hungarian forestry railways was reconsidered. The forestry companies operating these lines realised that their narrow-gauge railways may serve as a marketing tool for advertising themselves. Thus, the idea to close the Almamellék line was also abandoned.

Freight traffic on the line ceased in 1991. Some of the freight wagons have since been used for permanent way maintenance. In 2001, two MASZOLAJ wagons were rebuilt by the railway to open-air passenger carriages which improved frequent overcrowdings. The rest of the wagons were cut up in the same year and the bogies sold to the Csömödér Forestry Railway.

In the mid-1990s the last permanent inhabitant of Lukafa moved away. Since that time, the Lukafa branch has only been used by special trains, until about 2008. Scheduled trains operate to Sasrét only and omit this branch which is now seriously overgrown and passes through a recently established wildlife reserve.

In 1994, a two-track loco shed was built at Almamellék station. In 1995, wooden shelters were built at both Almamellék and Sasrét. The Mecsekerdő forestry company, operators of the line, purchased the declining former MAV station at Almamellék and had it rebuilt by 2001. Today, the building houses a museum exhibit.

Legutóbbi módosítás: 2011.04.17. 09:59

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