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"Ostbahn" narrow gauge railway in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina

This narrow gauge railway line built in 1906 from Sarajevo to Uvac on then Ottoman border, and to Vardište on the Serbian border was operated by the army and extensively used for military purposes, especially in the first two years of WWI. The line was abolished in 1978.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eastern Bosnia

Type of WWI-heritage

  • Military Infrastructure

Dimensions

Length: 166.4 km

State of repair/preservation

Demolished, but the track bed is currently quite well visible in the landscape, with several stations, tunnels and bridges still visible. Some of the railway stations are recognized as historical heritage by various instances.

Historical WWI Context

Built in 1906 from Sarajevo to Uvac on then Ottoman border, and to Vardište on the Serbian border, “Ostbahn” narrow gauge railway line was operated by the army and extensively used for military purposes, especially in the first two years of WWI. It had numerous tunnels and bridges, as well as railway stations in: Bistrik, Dovlići, Pale, Koran, Stambolčić, Sjetlina, Prača, Renovica, Banja Stijena, Sudići, Mesići-Rogatica, Dub, Ustiprača-Goražde, Strmica, Setihovo, Mrzovo, Rudo, Mioče, Uvac and Ljučevo, Međeđa, Most na Drini, Šip, Višegrad, Jagodina, Dobrun, Dobrunska crkva, Vardište. It was very important strategic railway that played the key role in the beginning of the war. During the war, troops and logistics were transferred to the Serbian front via this railway. Several incidents involving civilians held hostage by the Austro-Hungarian army occurred along the railway line in 1914. The line was abolished in 1978, but the track bed is currently quite well visible in the landscape, with several stations, tunnels and bridges still visible. A small part of the track is in service as a heritage railway rebuilt between 1999 and 2003, from Višegrad to so-called “Šargan Eight” in Serbia.

State of legal protection

Some of the objects are partially recognized by heritage authorities, most of the route is unprotected and derelict.

Kind of cultural use of WWI

Parts of the route are flooded by artificial lakes on rivers Lim and Drina. Ostbahn is part of the “Eastern railway” guided tour. There is a tourist attraction - “Vodeni ćiro” - a boat that operates on Lake Limsko following the old narrow gauge railway route from Most na Drini to Rudo.

Opening

No information available.

Entrance Fee

No information available.

Information regarding cities, villages, other touristic attractions (non-WWI) nearby

Public Transport

Car, bus.

Further information sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrow-gauge_railways_in_Bosnia_and_Herzegovina
#East_Bosnian_railway

https://bs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zgrada_%C5%BEeljezni%C4%8Dke_stanice_Bistrik  

Muzej Sarajeva, Muzej “Sarajevo 1878-1918”, http://www.muzejsarajeva.ba/bs/dani-kantona-dan-noc-muzejadepandansi/muzej-sarajevo

Ajdin Fevzija, Historija željeznica Bosne i Hercegovine, Nacionalna univerzitetska biblioteka Bosne i Hercegovine, Sarajevo, 2006.

Museums Private Collections

Location

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