It's not the Hogwarts Express, but it's close
ou can't board these trains in London and get off at Hogwarts. But their engines looks pretty much the same as in Harry Potter. And if you're a steam train enthusiast, the ride is almost as magical.
Every day, steam engines more than 60 years old defy their age. They pull wagons of coal from Banovici's coal mine to nearby towns. Banovici is in the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the summer, the engines become the only tourist attraction the town has to offer. The mine allows visitors to take a ride on the narrow-gauge line. The rails are only 30 inches apart.
The coal mine planned to replace the old engines after Bosnia's 1992-95 war. But the sudden arrival of steam train enthusiasts inspired a change of plans. The company began to service the steam engines and put them back to work.
"About a thousand steam train fans come here every year," said Dzevad Hodzic. He is the coal mine's technical director.
Aside from those built in 1948 and still hauling coal, the most popular engine is one built in the Czech Republic in 1925. It stood for 35 years as an exhibit on a side track. Then management decided to restore it to service. The little train carries up to 50 tourists in its two carriages. It winds 6 miles through mountains. It has a top speed of 50 kilometers per hour. A ticket costs about $12.40.
The engine is the only one of its type still running in the world, Hodzic said.
He hopes the tourism business will expand. If it does, the Banovici coal mine can put more refurbished steam engines to work next year.