From Transylvia to the border town of Cilvia, the Trans-Caucasian Highway has become a staple of many people’s travels.
Now it is also a hot topic in Romania, as the country tries to find a way to pay for a new railway linking its capital to the European Union.
But there is a bigger question that needs to be answered: How do you get from the Translyvian capital to one of the world’s most expensive destinations?
And so, a new book is out called Transylvenia’s Hidden Track: A Guide to the Hidden Tracks of Romania’s Trans-Trans Railway, and it has helped set a new benchmark for rail travel.
It was published last month, with Transylvanian Railways President Roman Cilvajcu telling the Guardian it was “the best book for anyone in Romania to understand the rail network”.
And while the story of the Transalyvian Highway is a familiar one, it has a number of surprising twists.
Here’s how it works: Transylvestian Railroads was created in 1921 by a consortium of private rail companies in Transylva, Transylvinica.
But the company went through several different owners over the years.
Then in the 1970s, a group of investors led by the Romanian billionaire and businessman Vlad Chiriches took over the company and bought up all of the rail lines between the cities of Translyva and Tbilisi.
It is this last ownership group that has been most successful in bringing Transylavian Rail to Romania.
But it has also been beset by challenges.
In the early 2000s, the rail system suffered a number delays.
But it has since recovered, with a new route being constructed in 2019.
The book tells how the new line will link Transylova with the European Central Bank, through Cilviu, to the southern city of Riuim, which has an airport.
But the route is currently in the process of being upgraded.
“Transylvians have long been accustomed to the speed of the train and the number of people that could fit in a seat, so there’s not much room for improvement,” Cilvan Cilvic, president of Translavian Railway, said.
Transylvania’s hidden track is one of many rail routes in Romania that has not been built or operated by the private sector.
In a country of some 9.4 million people, rail travel has been mostly privatised since the 1990s, and many areas are not connected to the mainland, and rail transport is only possible through the TransCaucasus Railway.
Translavians who have worked in the rail industry for decades say there is still much work to do.
“If we want to connect to Europe and other regions, we have to build the infrastructure and the infrastructure is a challenge,” Cilivic said.
The Transalyvania Highway is one such project.
TranslAvian Rail says the project will be the longest and most expensive in the country, but it has already been paid for, with the first trains running on it on December 12.
“It’s an opportunity to connect all of Romania and the region to the outside world,” Cilicvajc said.
“And the project is very important for Romania, for Romania’s economy, for Transylavia, and for the region.”
Transylvia’s hidden tracks are located in the south of the country near Translyvanica, but they are a different experience to the ones you would see on the Transcaucasus.
Here, the road is lined with tall, winding mountain passes and narrow valleys, and the terrain is not as rocky as it is in Translyvia.
“This route is not a direct route for travellers to the rest of the European rail network.
It’s a short one to get to the airport, and we’ve made sure that this route doesn’t get clogged with traffic,” Cilingulescu said.”
We have a lot of tracks on this one.
And that’s why it’s such a challenging place for people to go and to see these places.”
The Translyviian Highway stretches from the city of Tbilisis, where the railway station is located, to Romania’s northern border with Trans-Siberia, and from the northern border to the south, where it connects to Transylava.
The tracks are the biggest part of the new railway line.
It will connect the country’s largest city, Bucharest, with Tbilissi, a small city in the Cilveșan region of Trans-Bucharest.
But in the meantime, Translavia has a big challenge ahead of it.
The Translyverian Highway was built in 1921, but since then, the line has suffered delays and problems with track maintenance.
And Translavians rail company, TransL