Land of Narrow Gauge Train Bānītis
The Bānītis Land is the place where you can find the only narrow gauge train in the Baltics that still provides regular passenger traffic – the Bānītis.
At one time, when boarding the Bānītis, people could get to any station in Europe – it took its passengers to standard gauge railway tracks, the total length of which in the world no one knows. For more than a hundred years, the Bānītis has been connecting the Latvian homestead with the rest of Europe. It was and is the first step towards big dreams. The Bānītis has been the basis of our development.
Today the Bānītis Land starts in the baggage house of the Alūksne railway station – here you can experience an exciting story without even getting on the Bānītis, but the unique exposition makes everyone eager to find out the next train departure time: it needs just half an hour to fall in love with this land.
The Bānītis helps to find out about Malēnija (the borderland) without haste. In each of the 10 stations of the Bānītis Land up to Gulbene you will find something special: a palace surrounded by love stories or the simplest train stop building in the world. You will definitely be fascinated by our unique landscape, but in the autumn you will certainly get off at the stop with the best nearby places for mushroom picking.
The Bānītis Land can also be explored by bicycle – 6 cycle routes adjoin the train stops. The Green Railways are unusual – along the former railway embankments we can get even to Estonia, but in the annual competition ‘Bānītis Cup or Outperform Steam!’, everyone has the opportunity to find out if a cyclist can be faster than the steam locomotive Ferdinand.
The Bānītis Festival is the main event of the year of this land – it is a festival of both technology and happy people: finding out about the world of trains, you will also get to know Malēnieši (the borderland people) songs, dances and imagination. And, of course, you can leave the festival only after a filling meal.
The white steam puff of the Ferdinand’s chimney is the symbol of strength of the Bānītis Land.