The smallest of countries have the power to amaze and educate in ways that you could have never guessed and that’s what I love so much about travel!
Back in the latter part of the last century here in the UK there used to be a car transport system called ‘Motorail’ a way of transporting you and your car on long distance routes like from London to Inverness in Scotland or London to Penzance in the far west of Cornwall.
Those services finished at various times and areas around the UK and finally came to an end in 2005 some 50 years after the idea was introduced by the then British Rail on the London to Perth route around 1955.
I was rather pleasantly surprised on a recent visit to Slovenia that such a service is still in use with around 12 trains operating daily on the route between Bohinjska Bistrica and Most na Soči.
Not the 400mile routes as in the UK but a mere direct route of around 15 miles taking about 35 minutes.
However what the service does do is to cut out a two-hour drive around a high mountain range pass so the decision is really easy…let the train take the strain!
A quick drive up onto the platform and a drop down ramp provides access direct onto the flat bed open rail car. There is the option to stay in the vehicle or ride in the 30-seater carriage at the front of the train.
On the route from Bohinjska Bistrica station within seconds you are in a six and half kilometre long Bohinj tunnel cut out over a hundred years ago by engineers working for the Austria Hungarian Empire who ruled over this area at that time.
Their plan was to connect its only seaport of Trieste on the Adriatic to the north and the western part of Austria allowing easy onward connection to Germany with both imports and exports. As the Suez canal had opened recently at that time the port was in a good position to reap the benefits.
With a huge mountain range of the Julian Alps in the way the tunnel was conceived and built under the 1,498 metre high Mount Kobla the rail line opened in 1906.
Travelling this way was for me a first but it was charming and enjoyable. Once through and out of the tunnel the views of the mountains, rivers and villages were gorgeous.
Just one of those experiences you come across whilst travelling that show how you learn not only about where places are but their history, geology and a bit about engineering too.