Long time no see… it was in an instant that even the simplest and most fundamental things in life changed. Fortunately, all seems to be getting back to normal, step by step. Naturally, the recent pandemic and the changes it brought upon our lives also affected Thessaly Heritage Railway. Everyone was isolated, deprived of social contact, others amongst us (such as myself) worked on the frontlines, keeping society together. In the end, we are all safe and sound and we are thrilled to say we are back! And what a comeback that was…

Getting straight to the point, we are thrilled to announce our line has expanded once again! Trees and huge branches were cut, some of them had even sprung in the middle of the track, the loading gauge was fully restored in several occasions and track heads were unearthed, being deep in the soil. All of this extended on 4 kilometres long stretch of track, from the exit of Aerinon station all the way to Chalkodonio stop. Therefore, we are now able to operate on a full 19 kilometres of track, that previously being 14. Goal achieved! Our line now spans from Velestino station to Chalkodonio stop. Restoring this stretch of track was a difficult task as it had been abandoned for several years. It is well worth mentioning that this would not have been possible without the might and determination of two members of our team, Mr. Konstantinos Giannakopoulos and Mr. Nathaniel Papadopoulos. These two devoted several days of their time. We are proud of you, gentlemen!

Restoring the tracks on the way to Chalkodonio…
Proudly reaching Chalkodonio stop, after years of neglect!

Moving on, we would like to welcome you to the revamped Velestino depot area. Rail yard operations and switching were not so easy for us, as the existing track placement made things a bit difficult and time – consuming. So, a decision was made to refurbish the depot by adding a junction and a deadhead track. Additionally, deadhead tracks surrounding the turntable were set in place, to be used as parking spaces for our draisines. All of this required removing part of the existing mainline, curing the trackbed, setting the rail switch in place and connecting it to the mainline, measuring and testing the new junction. All of this was performed by our team under the watchful eyes of railway experts and valuable knowledge was obtained. With our new junction and deadhead tracks we are now able to perform switching and manoeuvring much easier and faster in our depot.

The removed part of our mainline, waiting for the new junction to be set in place.
The points of the new switch are in place.
The new switch in place… finalizing and testing.
The revamped depot and turntable space with its new deadhead tracks, used as draizine parking spots.

Moreover, a very vital procedure began recently. The team started replacing aging and worn out sleepers across the entire line. For the time being, the team focuses on stretches of track where sleepers are either missing or are severely worn out, obliging us to set speed restrictions in place. Replacing aging sleepers is a vital procedure to every railway as it is crucial for the safety of all operations on the tracks. You may look forward to a more detailed article, detailing ‘’how’’ and ‘’why’’ concerning this matter.

A new sleeper ready to be set in place.

Last but not least, major developments have been set in motion for our precious and rare Linke Hofmann DMU. For the time being, we shall mention that both her engines were inspected and were switched on for the first time is many years and were found to be in a relatively sound condition. Checks were also performed regarding her braking and electrical systems and a thorough cleaning of the interior took place, in preparation of her upcoming restoration. Huge surprises will be revealed soon, concerning the crown jewel of our fleet…stay tuned, we shall stay dedicated…