Sustainable solution in Panevezys City
Detailed description of the Good Practice
Activity of the narrow gauge railway, which is located in Panevėžys, and the inclusion of its perspectives to the cases of “good practice”, is one of numerous activities of the project Panevėžys – a sustainable city, which, on its turn, fully meets the main criteria of sustainable development: sustained ecologic, economic and social development.
Narrow gauge railway is a functioning and unique cultural, historical heritage and a relic of technical development, which allows achieving much in solving the question of air pollution with carbon dioxide, mitigation and adaption to the challenges, caused by climate warming, environmental training and education, cultural and regional recognition, as well as social and economic issues. What is more, the narrow gauge railway substitutes for hundreds or thousands of cars, which would be used to reach these exceptional leisure and educational events, recreational and cultural events, which are held outside the city. The narrow gauge railway encompasses all of this by using nature friendly passenger carriages, with seating capacity for 400 – 500 passengers, instead of hundreds of automobiles. In the past, water and firewood were used as fuel for the narrow gauge railway. In the future, to avoid further air pollution by carbon dioxide, we expect continue using these renewable and nature friendly energy sources.
Attractive routes of the narrow gauge railway could also solve social problems of the city. The narrow gauge railway can be used as a means of transport to get to exceptional places of historical, cultural and technical heritage, which otherwise would be unreachable for socially unable families. Thus, many members of the city community cannot take advantage of social integration to the activities dedicated to knowledge of biological diversity, issues of environment protection, recognition of region, city, historical and cultural heritage. It also could contribute to environment protection and reduction of the severe pollution by exhaust gas.
This means of transport is very attractive, nature friendly with lots of programmes, dedicated to the recognition of the technical heritage, biological diversity and the outskirts of the city. Consequently, the narrow gauge railway attracts huge numbers of Lithuanian as well as foreign tourists, who contribute largely to the economic development of the city.
Objectives of the Good Practice
to solve the problem of air pollution with carbon dioxide, to react to the challenges of mitigation and adaption to the climate warming and also to provide environmental training and education.
Participants of the Good Practice
Target group of the Good Practice
Funding of the Good Practice
More Details of the Good Practice
Panevėžys City, being an active participant of the project Panevėžys – a Sustainable City, benefits largely from the narrow gauge railway, usually referred to as SIAURUKAS. Siaurukas is a 19th century narrow gauge railway (750 mm). On the 68.4 km narrow gauge railway line Panevėžys - Taruškos – The Rekstino forest – Bajoriškiai – Raguvėlė – Surdegis – Troškūnai – Pagojus - Anykščiai - Rubikiai, there are more than 42 railway buildings of different purpose: stations, bridges, water towers and others. 20 monuments of the railway infrastructure are cultural monuments of the Republic of Lithuania with engineering, architectural, urban and land-scape values. It is the property of State, governed by an enterprise, named by a name of Northern Lithuanian region of Aukštaitija – P/I Aukštaitijos siaurasis geležinkelis (Narrow gauge railway of Aukštaitija).
The enterprise offers seven programmes of touristic trips (www.siaurukas.eu - EN - TRIPS) and integrates two significant sections:
- more than 40 historical, cultural, natural objects: regional parks, hydrographical reservations, territories NATURA 2000, forests and water bodies, situated near the narrow gauge railway;
- artistic expression and intangible national cultural heritage: folklore, ancient traditions, arts, culinary heritage, etc.
In this way the complex of cultural heritage was integrated into the life of society and a sustained social, economic and ecologic reality with background for further development was created.
Here we want to introduce one of seven touristic programmes, namely, trips called „Siaurukas + bicycle“. Having loaded bicycles on the train, passengers travel on the train to one of the stations and then continue their trip by bicycles or on foot. Travellers visit different cultural, historical and natural heritage objects, situated next to the narrow gauge railway. Having visited the places and objects, cyclists return to the initial station.
Here is a list of trips “Siaurukas + bicycle“:
Trip to the Legendary Places of Anykščiai
Anykščiai – Troškūnai Monastery
Troškūnai – Surdegis: signs of culture and heritage
Legendary places of Troškūnai
Trip, dedicated for the First Lithuanian King Mindaugas
Historical places of Andrioniškis
On the forest path of Troškūnai
Visiting the roadside poles of Virginijus Strolė
Bajoriškiai – The Raguvėlė Manor
Bajoriškiai – The Raguvėlė Forest – Raguvėlė
Secrets of the Latavos Forest
During the last year, 6.7 million Lithuanian and foreign tourists participated in these trips instead of travelling by car and throwing more than 6 tons of pollutants into the air. They also created a huge input to the budget of the city by using hotels, cafeterias, etc. In this way, recreational devel-opment was ensured.
Touristic programme “Siaurukas + bicycle“ has been organized for five years. New routes have been created. We consider this activity a very significant social, economic and ecologic innova-tion in Panevėžys. The activity has the future because it is an ecologic and relatively cheap means of transport, carrying up to 450 passengers at a time. Trips on the train are continued by bicycle or on foot. The content of the trips is of healthy, educational and recreational nature.
Development of the activity
1. This year, P/I „Aukštaitijos siaurasis geležinkelis“intends to compile and publish a new route catalogue for the programme “siaurukas+bicycle“. The above mentioned travel routes will be described in detail and will include the length of the route, time, trip content, route covering and other information.
2. We intend to restore the steam engines and use the renewable local energy resources, such as defective timber, attained by cleaning railroad of the narrow gauge railway. The trips will become even more at-tractive with the trains pulled by steam engines. (We proved it by borrowing a steam engine from ana-logical Estonian museum in 2009.)
3. Seeking to service the flow of tourists, which grows constantly, we prepare plans for the improvement and adaptation of the railway for tourism: setting up access to parking places, WC, enlarging platforms and others.
Integrity of the object
Creating the diversity of trips and ease of access for different social groups, the trip structures are constantly being improved and renewed. Special trips for children, elderly people, youth, families and mixed social groups are available. The goals of the trips differ from a quite recreation in the nature, festival entertainments, and small educational projects to intense content of conferences. The structure of the trips has been designed in such a way, that anyone, who can pay several Eu-ros, has the possibility to travel on this means of transport. Upon request, the trip can be filled by a cultural programme for an adequate price. Organized student groups take free trips for voluntary work sessions. The session lasts for a couple of hours, during which students help to clean and clear the touristic space of the narrow gauge railway. (E.g. the Park of the Vašuokėnų Manor.)
Documentation and documents
Data sources and references
Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 1/2010