Efforts to make Djerdap a navigable and safe waterway date back to BC. The first major construction was carried out during the Roman emperor Trajan.
100. A.D. – Trajan’s route,
101. A.D. – Sip Channel – Roman
1856 – Treaty of Paris – international navigation regime on the Danube
1890 – 1896 – Austria-Hungary regulates the waterway through the Iron Gate
1896 – Sip Channel
1899 – Sip steamboat hauling
1916 – Sip locomotive hauling – German occupation
1928 – Sip locomotive hauling was re-established – Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (SHS)
Locs in Djerdap (Loc – pl. Locevi were specialized river navigation captains, trained to navigate ships through The Danube gorges)
Djerdap river administration secured a safe passage of all ships in Djerdap area (from Gradiste and Golubac to Kladovo) with the assistance of locs – specialized river navigation captains, trained to navigate ships through Djerdap.
Djerdap River Administration was established in 1953 by an international agreement between the Federative People’s Republic of Yugoslavia and the People’s Republic of Romania with the aim of maintaining and improving the fairway and regulating the navigation.
Djerdap River Administration had two seats: in Tekija and Orsava. After construction of “Djerdap I” hydroelectric power plant, the need for Djerdap River Administration has ceased to exist.
Safe traffic signal stations
Safe traffic stations in Djerdap served as signal stations, which regulated the river traffic navigation system and controlled the river traffic. Djerdap River Administration, with navigators and six signal stations on both banks of the Danube, was securing safe guidance in the most dangerous part of the Danube. On the Romanian side, there were previously established Drenkova, Munteana, Izlaz, Greben, and Vodice signal stations, and on the Serbian side there was Sip signal station. The signal station at Sip was vertical and it regulated the traffic through Djevrinski channel, Mali Djerdap and Sip channel. Signal stations Pena and Varnice in Djerdap gorge were built years later. They are witnesses of old times when, together with the other signal stations, they served as unique traffic lights for navigation through Djerdap.
The Sip locomotive hauling
The Sip locomotive hauling tracked and guided boats through the Sip Channel.
The German Transportation Command built this locomotive hauling.
Due to a faster, more cost-effective and safer way of hauling, it replaced the Sip steamboat hauling. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes rebuilt the destroyed German plant and railway in 1928. In 1952, the Sip locomotive hauling officially belonged to the Yugoslav side due to its geographical position. The Sip locomotive hauling used 11 locomotives during its lifetime. Two out of three German three-cylinder steam locomotives from the JD3/J330 series were sunk in the upper reaches of the Danube, above the Djerdap I Hydroelectric power plant.