When talking about Arad, one of the main tourist attractions which should come in mind is the first electrified railroad in Romania and eastern Europe and “Sageata verde” (“The Green Arrow”), the train which served this line for almost a century. Unfortunately, not many people know this important feature of Arad, mainly because it is not popularized as it should. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to raise awareness about this issue. In the future, it will hopefully gain the support of local authorities, as well as the European institutions, in financing the restoration of the old trains and advertising throughout the country and Europe this important historical sight.
Knowing about “Sageata verde” is useful not only for the people who see railway history as a hobby, but also for tourists from all over the continent who, besides other attractions that Arad has to offer (for example the fortress, the “Neptun” beach or the Mures meadow), would find novelty in a historic one-hour journey with the old tram. Now that Romania is part of the European Union, “Sageata verde” belongs to the continent’s patrimony, alongside with other important remains of life from the dawn of the 20th century, before the World Wars struck and the nation was restructured.
The electrified railroad which links Arad to Ghioroc and the depot where the trains are kept belong to the town’s Public Transport Company, under the courtesy of the Local Council. The Ministry of Culture also plays an important role in promoting this cause through its events, for example “Arad’s Days”, an annual series of cultural and recreational events which advertise the attractions of the town. Many non-governmental organizations, such as Transira, were willing to offer their help and support, to collaborate with the local public institutions, as well as to provide useful information on this topic. A partnership with this particular organization would have helped in advertising the benefits of ecological and civilized public transport and to elaborate projects concerning the restoration of old trams, busses and other means of transport.
Small towns and villages, like the ones in Arad County, have their own history, culture and industry, not being dependant on the development of the big cities from the surrounding area. Being the home of the first electrified railway in Europe which literally served the “wine road” is the best example of this fact. The vineyards of Pâncota, Minis or Ghioroc are famous all over Romania, producing award-winning wines throughout centuries. A journey with “Sageata verde” along this “wine road” should be a unique experience for any European tourist, the hilly surroundings and vine plants offering a spectacular scenery. It can also offer useful information for the citizens about their town, presenting a side which many of them were not be able to see, because the trains were replaced by trams in 1990 and the railways to Pâncota and Radna were closed down.
As “Sageata verde” was the link between Arad and the nearby villages of Ghioroc, Radna and Pâncota for almost a century, it should be fair that people recognize the role it played for the local social life. Being a technological innovation for its time, the plans for “Sageata verde” trains were made in Hungary and built in Arad at the local “Johann Weitzer” factory. With the facility of transportation, local produce was easily delivered to the town market, helping the economic development and encouraging trade. “Sageata verde” also helped villagers who worked and studied in town by its 21 daily routes.
In conclusion, as “Sageata verde” is an important but yet unexploited tourist attraction of Arad, the project will hopefully be successful among local people as well as tourists and the effort of restoring this important feature of railway history will be rewarded by establishing the town as a landmark for tourists and railway fans from all over Europe. Having a glorious past, it is fair that “Sageata verde” should be given the credit for helping Arad’s population and industry, therefore deserving a better future than its present.
Author – Marta Felfoldi