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On the forgotten Ostban - "GTR Trail"

By Andrii Androshchuk | Hroshen | 18 May 2021

I continue my acquaintance with interesting Ukrainian trails, so this time I decided to go to Ivano-Frankivsk in the vicinity of which was a very interesting local trail race called "GTR Trail". I liked GTR Trail last year when I was interested in the fact that it was timed to create the Galician Transversal Railway and restore the railway connection between Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil. Since it was impossible to visit it that year, so I decided to visit this running holiday this year.




The Galician Transversal Railway (GTR) is the state-owned 768-km Austro-Hungarian railway in the crown land of Galicia from Krakow and Chad to Husiatyn on the border with the Russian Empire. The Austro-Hungarian government had long harbored the idea of ​​building a railway across Galicia, which was to connect the outskirts of Krakow with the Russian border in the area of ​​Husiatyn in the Ternopil region. The beginning of construction of separate sections of the highway began in 1871. It was a state-owned enterprise that connected existing lines (from January 1, 1884 to April 8, 1885) in a continuous route from east to west, along the northern side of the Carpathian Mountains and ran parallel to the Galician Railways of Archduke Charles Louis (CLB). The Galician Transversal Railway was also connected to the East Galician Local Railway (OGLB). In addition to the economic importance of promoting the development of underdeveloped mountainous areas of Galicia, the railway also had a military-strategic, as it was intended for the rapid transfer of troops in case of war.


The main points on the railway were Khyriv, Sambir, Drohobych, Stray, Kalush, Stanislaviv (Ivano-Frankivsk), Tysmenytsia, Nyzhniv, Buchach, Chortkiv, and Husiatyn. The largest engineering structure of this railway was the bridge across the Dniester in the village of Nyzhniv. Austrian and Italian engineers acknowledged that this was the second most difficult construction after the Carpathians. Hills, serpentines, relief differences were supplemented by periodic floods of the Dniester and its tributaries, which significantly increased the cost of work. During the Second Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the railway, which then became part of the PKP (Polish State Railways), reached its peak. Tourism and kayaking also developed along with the railway. In 1939, eight-passenger trains ran daily from Stanislaviv (Ivano-Frankivsk) via Tysmenytsia to Husiatyn: four in one direction and four in the opposite direction. A separate branch was also the local train Stanislaviv (Ivano-Frankivsk) - Tlumach. Traffic on the Galician Transversal Railway was finally interrupted after World War II with the establishment of the border between the USSR and Poland and the dismantling of part of the track.


Registration for the trail race "GTR Trail" took place on the site, where participants could choose one of two distances, namely 20, 9.5, or 3 kilometers. The cost of registration for the main distances of 20 and 10 kilometers was 400 UAH.


As for the trail route, the organizers tried to pave it so that it would repeat the route of trains that once ran on the Galician Transversal Railway. Therefore, the route of the main distance of the trail (20 kilometers) was flat, as it passed mainly on the embankments that remained after the railway tracks were dismantled. The start of the race took place in the town of Tlumach, and the finish on the banks of the Dniester River near the village of Nyzhniv.


Gathering my running gear on Saturday night, I once again went in search of another running adventure, this time the city of Ivano-Frankivsk was waiting for me because a trail race dedicated to the railway that once connected Ukraine and Europe was to take place in its vicinity.


Since the “GTR Trail” took place in the vicinity of Ivano-Frankivsk, the participants could get to the starting point in several ways, by their own transport, or by a transfer organized by the organizers. Therefore, arriving in Ivano-Frankivsk, he immediately went in the direction of the College of Physical Education, where the participants were waiting for a transfer that was to take them to the starting point of the trail. The start numbers were issued to the participants before the start of the race on the territory of the starting town.


After a short warm-up and an introductory speech from the organizers, the participants of the “GTR Trail” for 20 kilometers went on another interesting running trip on the route Tlumach - Nyzhniv. In addition, three hydration stations awaited the participants along the entire route, where they could refresh themselves a bit. As for the other distances of the trail (9.5 and 3 kilometers), they started separately from the main distance.


Well, at 9:30 the start started and I went on another interesting running trip. The first kilometers were run quite comfortably and I didn't feel my recent marathon in Varna at the beginning. Therefore, the first half of the trail, namely the first 6 miles passed in 50 minutes. The second half of the trail decided to overcome a little slower after the marathon was only Sunday. And in 1 hour and 54 minutes, I was waiting for a rest on the banks of the Dniester.


The “GTR Trail” trail itself turned out to be quite well organized, namely the transfer to the starting point and back (it is desirable that you can learn about it from the trail information) for participants, the starting town, and a cool finish on the Dniester, where participants could rest after the race. On the way of the runners, several million points were organized, where the participants were met by volunteers, and the route itself was quite well marked.


Thank you for reading, I hope you found it interesting.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on this article then I'd love to see your comments.

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Andrii Androshchuk
Andrii Androshchuk

I like running. My blog:


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