"One For The Train Enthusiasts!" Septemvri by johngayton

Septemvri Travel Guide: 3 reviews and 8 photos

All I Saw Was The Railway Station And...

...whilst it's not particularly pretty it is perfectly practical.

Unless you live or work here the only reason why you would hear of Septemvri is if you are changing trains to or from the narrow gauge railway to places such as Bansko on the Dobronishte line. The town is on the main line between Sofia and Plovdiv and every train between the two stops here but usually only for a minute and unless you know where it is you are unlikely to spot the single sign that tells you you are at Septemvri.

The only branch line is the aforementioned one to Dobronishte and that's what makes the station well worth a visit if you are a train fan. This 125 km, 760 mm, narrow gauge track is the last remaining one of its kind in Bulgaria and the locomotives and carriages that run on it are custom-made.

The station itself is one of those bleakly functional concrete designs adopted by the Bulgarian Railway during the socialist era but it is functional and the prescence of the narrow gauge line gives it a touch of character.

The ticket hall cum waiting room is equally sparse with the usual semi-curtained windowed sales offices, a few slatted wooden benches, a coffee machine in the corner (only 30 stotinki for an excellent espresso) and an ATM.

It does though have one of Bulgaria's few pieces of useful signage which tells you where to get the narrow gauge trains!

On the main platform are three little kiosks, one either side of the doorway and one just round the corner, which compete for what scant trade there is, thus making this a cheap place to grab a simple sandwich or microwaved burger for lunch and stock up with supplies for the journey.

The Journey Itself

Despite being pulled by pretty powerful diesel locos the train rarely exceeds speeds of 30 km per hour as it winds it way up through the Rhodopi Mountains, reaching its highest elevation of 1257 metres at Abromovo and then snaking downhill until its final destination of Dobrinishte at 820 metres, taking, in total, about 5 and a half hours to complete the 125 km route with 25 station stops en route.

This is an incredibly scenic journey (and perfectly comfortable too) and here's a little travelogue from my Bansko Page.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Useful and Characterful Railway Station
  • Cons:Toilets On The Platform Were Locked
  • In a nutshell:There are much worse places to have to change trains.
  • Last visit to Septemvri: Jan 2010
  • Intro Updated Jan 26, 2010
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johngayton

“The slow lane often gets you there faster”

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