The mountainous regions of Orava and Kysuce, in the north-west of present-day Slovakia near to the Polish border but previously part of the Habsburg Empire, have been an important source of timber for many centuries. Increasing demand in the early twentieth century led to the construction of two logging railways that in due course became an integrated system. The lines were built to a gauge of 760 mm, which enabled construction costs to be reduced to 40 per cent less than those of a standard gauge railway. Several extensions were built running up tributary valleys. The most notable feature of the railway was its crossing of the Beskyd Pass on the watershed between the two river systems from which the provinces take their name, which was achieved by means of a series of reversing spurs. The railway ceased operation in 1971-72, when parts of the track were taken up and much of the rolling stock destroyed, but an 8-km section between Chmura and Tacnecnik is being conserved, and in 1991 was proclaimed to be part of the cultural heritage of Slovakia.
Visitors are able to travel on a 3.6 km section leading to the Kysuce open air museum at Cadca, which is responsible for its management. The museum was founded in 1974 to conserve buildings removed from the villages of Riecnica and Harvelka that were inundated by the construction of a reservoir, but it now includes some from other places. This is a railway of a kind that is most unusual in Europe, and the conservation scheme is prospering in spite of drawbacks caused by fires and landslips.