Pelion Train. The Legendary train
The Legendary train “Moutzouris”
The historic railroad Volos - Milies, the train of Pelion, as it is more commonly known, was built in two stages from 1894 until 1903.
The now legendary "Moutzouris" linked the commercial industrial center of Volos to the rich and fertile area of West Pelion, on the slopes and the olive groves of the mountain of Centaurs.
By 1950, the train with the Belgian machines "Milaiai", "Jason", “Pelion", "Volos", "Tsagarada" and its wagons, with smaller engines, served the needs of the city as a tramway for the public transportation in Volos.
For 80 years it has been a benchmark for the region.
After its repeal in 1971, various attempts were made to reopen as (of museum character) a tourist train in an environment of exceptional natural beauty. After major reconstruction work at a part of the infrastructure, it went back into operation in 1996.
The original construction
On December 16, 1894 began the engraving and construction works of the line and in October 12 of the following year, opened the part Volos – Lehonia, length of 13 km, with an iron bridge above Anavros torrent and with a reinforced concrete bridge, the first in Greece, above Vrychonas torrent, outside Lehonia.
Around 1900, it was decided the expansion of the line up to Milies and in 1903 that part was ready. The line Lehonia – Milies of length of approximately 16 km, with a maximum incline of 28 per thousand, was a very difficult technical task, with many bridges (6 double-arched stone bridges, three-arched, 4-arched, one five-arched and a metal) with retaining walls, tunnels, abutments, aerial walkways etc, all masterpieces of architectural design and construction, in perfect harmony with the environment, representing the style and the feeling of that era, where the technique was perfectly matched with the sensitivity.
The creator Giorgio de Chirico
Giorgio de Chirico was born in the then small town of Volos in 1888, lived in this his happy childhood, he loved it and he transfused it in his works in the form of symbolic visual elements, especially in the subjects of the metaphysic period.
The figure e.g. of the small train that emits smoke, stations, arches, water towers, factories, chimneys, rails and Argonauts, centaurs, etc., which we find in his works, are showing the multiple attachment of this great artist with Volos, the railway history and the local mythology and tradition.
Today the train, thanks to the struggles of the local community and its friends, after years of immobility, is climbing again on Pelion slopes with 25 km per hour.
After Ano Lehonia, it ascends through the olive trees, puffing and whistling as before, and passing through the traditional villages of Ano Gatzea, where it stops for a short time at the station, then Agia Triada, Agios Athanasios of Pinakates, Argyreika and terminates at Milies.
At the station of Milies is done the manually reversing of the direction of the machine and you can watch the whole process, on the special platform on the end of the station, towards Lehonia for its return.
The stop in Milies takes a few hours to give the opportunity to visitors - passengers to make a short walk to the square of Milies, heading up the path that begins shortly after the station and terminates at the center of the village, a route of about a quarter.
Here you can visit the oldest and most important building in the village, the "Church of the Archangels", which is characterized by its impressive frescoes (paintings) and the ornate wooden temple. The church of the Archangels has also an important history, since here, on May 7, 1821, Anthimos Gazes raised the banner of revolt against the Turks. The historic flag survives today in the library of Milies "Psyhis Akos".
The guests, who will stay in Milies, can wander in the paths and trails of the mountain and they go from Milies to Vyzitsa, Pinakates, St. - George, to admire the old mansions that stand proudly in time, to worship in churches, chapels and the many monasteries that remain vivid testimony of a bygone era and at the end to return back by the small train enjoying an another dimension and a quality of life and culture, much closer to humans, nature and environment, things that are difficult to find nowadays in our standardized era.
The passengers of "Moutzouris" can enjoy a dreamy view from the top of the mountain to the vastness of the sea, they can stand and photograph the unique De Chirico’s bridges, the five-arched bridge, the straight metal rail with the curve, unique in Europe, they can also visit the historic library of Milies that houses manuscripts by the teachers of the Nation Gazis and Konstantas etc.
The train line re-launched in Ano Lehonia - Milies, length of 15 km. The journey takes 90 minutes, with a 15 minute stop at Ano Gatzea and the maximum speed is 20 km per hour.
There is the traditional rolling stock, steam locomotives of 1903 and 1912, wooden wagons with balconies and two new diesel locomotives acquired by OSE in 2000.
Route: Agria - Anavros
Apart from the famous route Lehonia - Milies, another route within walking distance from Volos is underway. The new route starts from the station of Agria, making a very beautiful trail next to the famous beach of Agria with its tsipouro bars, taverns and cafes.
Continuing its route, it follows the path of the coastal road to Volos, separating the asphalt road and the beach, and reaches Anavros, which is the end of the route.
Those who wish it, they can return again in Agria with the same itinerary.
Do not miss this unique route with the exceptional beauty.