Odontotos rack railway Diakopto –Kalavrita, under the shadow of Helmos mountain!

Kalavrita is a place full of history and nonsuch natural beauty that attracts visitors throughout the year. For many years Vouraikos river starts its journey from Kalavrita, runs through the homonymous gorge and ends in Diakopto, on the coast of the Corinthian bay.
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About 120 years ago Odontotos rack railway started from the seaside town of Diakopto parallel to the river and climbed to Kalavrita through bridges and tunnels.

Since then the Vouraikos river and Odontotos go together.

The little train incorporated so well to the natural environment that it seems that it had always been there. The way it was constructed did not put a strain on the ecosystem of the gorge. Using stone and wood from the area the technicians' work is so perfect that someone may think that the nature worked on its own.

Odontotos is not just a train. Vouraikos gorge and Odontotos rack railway Diakopto – Kalavrita is a unique attraction in Greece. An area full of towns, villages, hospitable inhabitants, unique environment and the scent of Greek life. In order to write the history of this place we need volumes of books but a trip on the train will give you a real taste.

Odontotos is waiting for you..



Odontotos starts from the railway station of Diakopto and follows the Vouraikos gorge. After a distance of 22,350 metres and within 60 minutes it ends in the town of Kalavrita, 750 metres from the surface of the sea.

The construction of the network started in 1889 and it was inaugurated on 10 march 1896.

Since then Odontotos travels every day, all year round, whatever the weather is.

Gauge : 0,75m, this particularity makes Odontotos the narrowest in the world.

Length of the network : 22,350m.

Total toothed parts 3.400m

Maximum incline in parts with simple adhesion: 33 o/oo

Maximum incline in toothed parts: 175 o/oo

About 120 years ago Greece was smaller and weak. Charilaos Trikoupis, prime minister of Greece at the time wanted to create local railway networks starting from spots next to the major railway network with lines of 75 cm width.

Trikoupis promoted a small gauge because he could see that a small train was more flexible which was a real advantage for a mountainous country and it was also cheaper to construct. Therefore, in March 1889 his government decided the construction of the railway track Diakopto – Kalavrita.

The study was assigned to French scientists. It was revealed that the cost of construction would reach 1.000.000 drachmas while a motor road would top 1.100.000 In addition the cost of every individual plus a tone of goods would be 2.30 drachmas in the case of train whereas by road a passenger would cost 5 drachmas and about 15 drachmas for every tone of goods. They finally came to the conclusion that the construction of the railway network would take about 10 months.


The contract for the construction of the network and its exploitation was signed by “Railways – Piraeus – Athens – Peloponese “ (SPAP) and the Greek government. One year after the signature of the first contract they decided to construct the Part Kalavrita – Tripoli, 90km long at a cost of 3.900.000 drachmas.

Meanwhile, the construction of the part Diakopto – Kalavrita was assigned to the French contractor Aton. Many others succeeded him and the estimated ten months became 5 years while the 1 million drs became 3.500.000 drs. These excesses did not allow the realization of the railway track up to Tripoli.



It is worth mentioning that the French technicians had from the outset suggested the electro motion of the line by producing electric power in dams that could have been constructed between the 3rd and 15th km, exploiting in this way the repeated waterfalls in the river. Apart from the study and the planning of the network which is due to the French technicians, Italian labours worked in this project because of their experience in mountainous railways in the Alps.

Because of the inaccessible ground and the poor technical means of that time the whole venture proved more difficult than what they had estimated. However,the project is considered a constructive feat even nowadays.

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Technical works of Odontotos 

The main characteristic of Odontotos are the few straight parts of the line unlike the many curved ones.The most interesting parts starting from Diakopto are between the 3.1km and 16.9km where the ground is particularly steep.

Next to the racks there are wall supports with a total length of 400m and stone embankment investments with a total length of 500m. There are six tunnels in the network 200m long in total.There are also tunnel constructions open on one side and carved on the rock on the other.The most impressive one with continuous and intense inclination is on the 6thkmstarting from Diakopto in the position “Dikastiria”.

There are also tunnels which have been constructed for the protection of the line from landslides.The biggest one is on the 6.8km and its wall which looks to the river has skylights.There are totally 49 bridges in the network.Among the metallic ones 25 have a span from 10 to 60.9m and 15 from 3 to 10m. There are also 9 stone arched bridges, the arch has a span from 2 to 6m.

The network of Odontotos was characterised as “a remarkable technical project on the whole” and its installations “historical preservable monuments”.


The trains of Odontotos and the way they move

Odontotos used until now six rail cars like the one on the picture designed and constructed especially for the Greek rack railway and adjusted to the environment of the network (this involves the curves of the line, the height of the tunnels, the resistance of the bridges and the rails).

The trains are made in France: the first three train (delivered in 1957) are “BILLARD” and the other three (delivered in 1967) are “DECAUVILLE”.

It is almost unknown to everyone how the rail cars are electric powered.The necessary electric power is produced at the moment in generating sets located in the middle vehicle, but if the line was electrically powered this vehicle wouldn't be necessary.

The (N1) vehicle which is always directed towards Diakopto has 4 axes and a tare of 11 tones. It is called the driving vehicle because it has the electric motor and the driving wheels (toothed and simple).

The (N2) vehicle produces energy that's why it is called vehicle of energy production (OPE). The motor on the Billard make has the force of 350 horses at 1500 revolutions per minute whereas in Decauville make has 500 horses at 1500 revolutions per minute. OPE's electricity is fed to the driving vehicle while it is going up to Kalavrita and it follows by pushing. OPE weighs 7 tones.

The (N3) vehicle is always directed towards Kalavrita and it is called the governing vehicle because of its control system. It weighs 7 tones and has 4 axes. It has a toothed wheel but it is only used for braking.The trains always travel with the driving vehicle downhill and have three control systems for driving: one at each side of the driving vehicle and one at the governing vehicle. Seated passengers are 81 both in 1st and 2nd class and in total the rail car can carry 100 people.

There is also an efficient porter. The speed in conventional lining reaches 40km/h and in the toothed lining 12km/h. The maximum inclination in some parts reaches 17.5%.

On 19 May 2003, they started renovating the line of Odontotos Diakopto-Kalavrita which is expected to finish within 2009. The cost of the project amounts 37million Euro.

The renewal of the existing infrastructure involves the construction of new superstructure (new train new tracks, new sleepers and macadam).

At the same time there is an extensive maintenance of metallic bridges.Moreover,the procurement of four new trains has already been made (from the Swiss company STADLER). These trains will replace the existing ones which are in use for more than forty years.


ITINERARIES rack railway Diakopto-Kalavrita from 23-12-2021

From Diakopto
09:52 - Daily
12:17 - Daily
15:07 - Daily
From Kalavrita
11:04 -Daily
13:37 - Daily
16:45 - Daily

Station Diakofto +302691 043206
Station Kalavrita +302692 022245
Customer Service OSE +301110
The local stations OSE

19.00euro return


I hope you ... thank you for your time.

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  • Traino 1
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