In Peilion you can board the famous Pelion Train and enjoy a ride of unique beauty. This railway line was constructed in 1895 by Evaristo De Chirico, the father of the famous Italian surrealist painter Giorgio de Chirico. The legendary "Moutzouris-Smudgy" that departs from Ano Lehonia to arrive at the old train station at Milies... A nostalgic trip that will impress any visitor.
This little train has a story.
The train’s story and the myths of Mt. Pelion combined in a single magical ride!
This historical train that used to operate the whole route between Volos and Milies has been running literally on the tracks of history. Construction began in 1881 and in 1896 the first part of the line, namely until Ano Lehonia had been delivered. The rest, all the way up to Milies would have to wait for 1903.
The chief engineer of the project was Evaristo De Chirico, father to the well know painter and sculptor Giorgio De Chirico, who was born in Volos.
Little De Chirico was present during the construction works, observing this strange, new, means of transportation that was later to inspire him and take its place in many of his creations, usually in the form of a miniature train silhouette, half-hidden behind walls or arches, much like a child’s "spying" gaze into the adult world.
Ano Lehonia - Milies
The train normally operates from spring till autumn. During this period one trip is made on a daily basis, in the mountainous part of the line. The running time is 1h 30m (including a 15m stop at the scenic station of Ano Gatzea, where coffee, local "tsipouro" and refreshments are available).
Access to Ano Lehonia Railway Station.
The station is 12km away from the city of Volos and is served by the Volos - Lehonia - Platanidia bus line, which runs on the road that heads for Kala Nera. One can also easily access the station by car as there is sufficient parking space right in front of the station building. Signposts of brown colour, clearly showing the direction in which the station lies can be found on the main road.
Access to Milies Railway Station.
The station can only be accessed by car and has limited parking space available. Signposts of brown colour, clearly showing the direction in which the station lies can be found on the main road towards Milies.
The mythical route of Pelion's little train...
11 o’clock at the Ano Lehonia Railway Station. The little train’s whistle signals the beginning of an unforgettable trip. The ascent on the beautiful slopes of Mt. Pelion has started!
This 60cm gauge line, one of the narrowest in the wolrd, hosts the loco and the 4 cars of "Moutzouris", a nickname which is used in Greek for someone who turns things black , an obvious choice in the days of steam. The terrain between Ano Lehonia and Milies is mountainous, filled with dense vegiatation, mainly made up of plane trees, olives and pine trees.
The altitude gained allows for a spectacular view over Pagasitikos bay. Add to this the fact that the little train’s maximum speed is a mere 20km/h and one can see why spectacular vistas over gorges, magnificent old bridges and tight tunnels are the order of the day, thus putting together all the jigsaw bits of this scenic route. The train’s only intermediate stop is at the Ano Gatzea station from which it toils on to Milies and towards the complettion of this 15km run in a total of about 90 minutes.
Up until Milies, the route is awash with natutal beauty and features numerous architectural landmarks, especially constructions from carved stone and grey limestone that form arched bridges, tunnel entries and retaining walls, an exquisite sample of which is the five-arched stone bridge of Kalorema, in the area of Malaki.
On the final approach towards Milies, the scenery becomes more extreme, with the crossing of the steel bridge of Taxiarhis, also known as "De Chirico’s Bridge" being the highlight of this last section. Here, some pretty unique engineering is at work. This is a rare occassion where a train crosses a bridge that is straight, but the tracks that lie on it are actually curved!
At the end of the route, lies Milies station. Traditional guesthouse and taverns await the visitors, while a cobbled stone footpath takes you up the village’e main square (about 15m).
Here one can marvel at the chuch of Taxiarhes, renovated in 1743, the library which is one of the oldest in Greece and visit the museum of folk art.
The next opportunity to admire the most scenic railway line in Greece is at 16:00 when the little train will start its descent towards Ano Lehonia.
The little train of Pelion crosses the mythical routes of the Centaurs and the Dodecatheon as, according to the Ancient Greek Mythology, Pelion was the summer habitat of the twelve gods of Olympus.
Somewhere in the dense forest covering the slopes of Mt. Pelion, and in particular, where the R.R. Station of Milies lies today, researchers place the site of the wedding between Pileas and Thetis (the parents of Ahcilles).
The mythical battle involving the Centaurs and the Lapiths for the sake of beautiful Ippodameia is also thought to have taken place at this very site.