It’s a slow way to reach Romania’s Black Sea beaches, but also a cheap, safe and relatively stress-free mode of transport.
Romania’s national railway company on Friday started its summer season of train journeys to the Black Sea coast and have announced they are laying on extra trains.
“The Sun Trains 2020” as they are dubbed will continue until September 6, CFR Calatori which runs the country’s public passenger trains said.
”In order to facilitate links between the main cities and the Romanian coast this summer season, CFR Calatori has a varied timetable which means running more trains between Bucharest North and Mangalia,” the last stop in southeast Romania close to the Bulgarian border.
Many Romanians are expected to vacation at home this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, either for economic reasons or due to fears about visiting countries with a large number of coronavirus cases or uncertainties about foreign travel and quarantine rules.
Tourist operators estimate only 20% of Romanians going on vacation this year will choose foreign destinations. Many will opt for the sandy Black Sea beaches with guaranteed sunshine.
National air carrier Tarom has announced new routes from western Romanian cities to the Black Sea which is in the far southeastern corner.
Although many tourists will motor down to the Black Sea, the train is still a popular and cheap option.
But this year, with coronavirus restrictions in place, the trip will look a little different. Passengers will have to wear a mask and respect physical distancing rules, the railway company said.
Some of the train journeys will be extremely long. For example, the trip from Satu Mare in far northwest Romania to Mangalia, in the southeast will take 19 hours.
CFR Calatori says it will allow families and co-workers to sit together, but otherwise there will be unoccupied seats, due to distancing rules.
It says it has 900 train carriages in daily use, 100 more than last year.
Trains from Mangalia to Bucharest will have extra carriages for passengers traveling to the northwestern cities of Cluj and Bistrita.
Other trains from Mangalia to Bucharest will go to Suceava in northern Romania, and another train will take the same route from the Black Sea and then go to the southwestern town of Resita.
There will also be a special “Youth Train” from the central city of Sibiu, to Bucharest with Mangalia, the final destination.
Starting June 26/27 the company will lay on trains from most Romanian cities to the Black Sea.
There will be extra sleeping cars for long-distance journeys.
And for tourists who prefer the Danube Delta nature reserve rather than the beach, extra trains are being laid on/
A one-way second-class ticket from Bucharest to Constanta costs 59.6 lei, with a 10% reduction on a return.