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Austria´s Narrow Gauge Railways

Austrian n.g. map      Deutsche Version

 
Bregenz Forest Railway
Bregenz Forest Railway ("Waelderbaehnle") is situated in Vorarlberg near Bodensee. It was opened in 1902 connecting Bregenz and Bezau. After WW II diesels were introduced and soon replaced all steam engines. In 1962 all trains were hauled by class 2095, only a 2092 shunter remained at Vorkloster. A steam train service was introduced in 1974 by Eurovapor which used Heeresfeldbahn steam engines. In 1980 the line was hit by floodings and traffic was reduced to the 5 km Bregenz–Kennelbach part. In 1984 the line was closed completely and a heritage railway was established from Bezau to Bersbuch. Bersbuch terminus had to be closed in 2004 because of the construction of a new road. Nowadays heritage trains connect Bezau and Schwarzenberg.
Image: 699.01 was one of the first engines for tourist trains in Bregenz Forest
The heritage railway in Bregenz Forest...

Ziller Valley Railway
Ziller Valley Railway was opened from 1900 to 1902 from Jenbach to Mayrhofen in Tyrol. It used steam locos of the "U" class and passenger cars with eight windows, which have been refurbished and are still in use. The first diesels were introduced after WW I but could not replace the steam traction until the late 1960ies, when newly built O&K diesels were put into traffic. In the 1980ies DMUs took over passenger traffic and almost hourly trains in both directions were established. Today the railway operates regular passenger service by DMU and low floor trains and tourist steam trains.
Image: A passenger train has just left Zell am Ziller station
Regular passenger service...
Steam in Ziller Valley...

Pinzgau Local Railway
Opened in 1898 Pinzgau Railway connected Zell am See and Krimml. First engines were of the "Z" type which were replaced by other classes in the following years. Diesels were introduced after WW II, freight traffic ended in 1998. Trains were hauled by DMU class 5090 and 2095 diesels. Steam trains were introduced in the early 1980ies hauled by classes 699, 298 and 399. The line was hit by floodings in 2005 and the Mittersill–Krimml section was completely destroyed. Today the line is operated by Salzbourg Local Railways (SLB) which renumbered class 2095 to Vs 71-73, class 5090 to VTs 11-16, class 2092.002 to Vs 51 and the newly built class 2096 to Vs 81-82. There are also steam trains twice a week in summer. In November 2008 freight service was reintroduced. From 2009 to 2010 the Mittersill–Krimml section was rebuilt.
Image: VTs 14 calling at Zellermoos
Pinzgau Local Railway today...
The railway before the floodings...

Salzkammergut Local Railway (SKGLB)
Salzkammergut Local Railway was doubtlessly the most famous Austrian n.g. which was opened in 1890 and connected Salzbourg with Mondsee and Bad Ischl, where Austrian emperors spent their summer. Following engines were in service: Small 0-4-0 locos Nr. 1 and 2 mainly used on St. Lorenz–Mondsee branch, 3-5, similar to the Steyr Valley type, 6-12 and Heeresfeldbahn 19-22 and 30-33. DMU TCa 672 "Mondsee Cow" which was in service on the Mondsee branch line had been originally an emperor´s coach. The line was ceased in 1957, some steam locos have luckily survived and are exhibited at Mondsee´s SKGLB Museum. There are also plans to rebuild a part of the line near Mondsee as a heritage railway.
Image: A resurrected SKGLB train on Club 760´s "Taurachbahn" heritage railway

The remains of SKGLB...

Mur Valley Railway
Mur Valley Raiway was opened in 1894 connecting Unzmarkt and Mauterndorf. The famous "U" class was used here for the first time (U stands for Unzmarkt). In the 60ies diesels were introduced but steam engines have survived until today hauling special trains ("Bummelzug") and can be driven by enthusiasts ("Hobbyzug"). Today there are DMUs in regular passenger trains but also parts of the freight service have survived. In the 70ies regular traffic ended on the Tamsweg–Mauterndorf section which was reopened as a heritage railway ("Taurachbahn") by Club 760 in 1988. 
Image: VL 16 hauling a freight train near Tamsweg
Changing times in Mur Valley...
Heritage railway "Taurachbahn" Mauterndorf–St. Andrae...
Styrian railways modelling...


Mixnitz–St. Erhard Local Railway

Founded as an industrial railway in 1913 Mixnitz–St. Erhard local railway also introduced passenger service. There has been only electric traction despite short periods after WW I when a steam engine (U.52) hauled the trains and after WW II when a 2091 diesel was in service. Two EMUs from the Ybbs tramway were put into service in 1953 which were used for shunting in Mixnitz until  two electric locos were bought. Regular passenger service ended in 1966, since 2003 there have been heritage trains on special days.
Image: E1 at Mixnitz terminus
Regular freight service...
Heritage trains...


Thoerl Railway

Kapfenberg–Au-Seewiesen local railway was opened in 1893 and had huge freight traffic and a very poor passenger service. The latter closed in 1959, the Seebach-Turnau–Au-Seewiesen section was removed in 1964. Heritage trains were introduced in 1992 which ended in the late 90ies when freight traffic which was effected by ex-YU engines was ceased. The line was partly converted into a bicycle trail in 2003/04.
Image: Ex-YU diesel VL 22 at Kapfenberg Landesbahn station
Regular service in the 1990ies...
Heritage trains...
Industrial lines in Thoerl Valley...


Feistritz Valley Railway

Feistritz Valley Railway started traffic in 1910 from Weiz to Birkfeld. There were plans to establish a connection to the Ratten coal mine which was effected by an industrial railway in 1920. This part of the line was converted to a public railway in 1930. Passenger traffic ended in 1969 between Birkfeld and Ratten and in 1973 between Weiz and Birkfeld. In 1971 steam trains were introduced. In 1980 the Birkfeld–Ratten section was converted into a bicycle trail, the rest of the line remained in service until 2014 when the freight service to Oberfeistritz was closed. Since then only heritage steam trains hauled by Austrian class Kh or Bosnian class 83 have been operating in summer. 
Image: Kh.101 heading a heritage train to Birkfeld at Weiz terminus
Regular and heritage trains in Feistritz Valley...


Stainz Local Railway

Preding-Wieselsdorf–Stainz local railway was opened in 1892. Trains were hauled by small 0-4-0 engines in the beginning, from which Nr. 2 "Stainz" has survived and is preserved on Mur Valley Railway at Murau shed. Before WW II the line was closed but reopened in the war. In 1951 passenger service ended again. Club 760 introduced heritage trains in 1971 which have become famous as "Flascherlzug (Bottle Train)". Regular freight service was closed in 1980 and the line was converted into a heritage railway. The once abandoned connection from Wohlsdorf to Preding terminus was reopened in 2000.
Image: S.11 steam engine at Stainz terminus
Stainz "Bottle Train"...

Steyr Valley Railway
The oldest 76 cm line in Austria is 1889-built Steyr Valley Railway which once connected Gasten and Gruenburg, Molln and Klaus. There was a branch line from Pergern via Sierning to Bad Hall. Some parts were closed in the 60ies and 70ies and in 1982 the last regular train left Gruenburg for Garsten. A heritage railway was established on the remaining tracks between Steyr and Gruenburg in 1988 which is still working on weekends in summer and some special days in December. Trains are hauled by steam engines of classes 298 and 699.
Image: 298.53 hauling a heritage train at Steyr Lokalbahnhof terminus
Regular trains in Steyr Valley...
Steyr Valley heritage railway...
Pergern–Bad Hall branch line...


Ampflwang´s Narrow Gauge Railway

This 760mm-line was opened by WTK (Wolfsegg-Traunthaler Kohlenwerksgesellschaft)  in 1995 and has a length of 2 km. It was in service only in 1995 and connected Brecher Buchleiten near OeGEG´s Ampflwang railway museum and the mining museum in Hinterschlagen. Today the tracks are still there but in very bad condition. Traffic was effected by the Stainz No. 2 diesel and a Polish steam engine. There was only one passenger coach which originated from Reichraming forestry railway.
Image: Diesel engine No. 2 has just left Buchleiten
More pictures... .

Mariazell Railway and "Krumpe"
Mariazell Railway and "Krumpe" were opened from 1898 to 1907, the Wieselburg–Gresten section after WW I. Because of the huge traffic powerful steam engines were necessary which led to the construction of the Mh- type, today known as class 399. The Mariazell line was electrified between St. Poelten and Gusswerk in 1911. The electric engines which were introduced in the same year are still in regular traffic. Today Mariazell–Gusswerk and the Mank–Wieselburg branch line are closed, the Wieselburg–Gresten part was regauged to standard gauge in 1997. Nowadays the rest of the network is operated by passenger trains only, in 2013 the newly built EMUs "Stairway to Heaven" were introduced. In December 2010 the rest of "Krumpe" between Obergrafendorf and Mank was closed and some kilometers departing from Ruprechtshofen were reactivated for rail-bike-tourism.
Image: "Stairway to Heaven" ET3 and 1099.14 at St. Poelten "Alpine Station".
Today´s train service...
Train service by Austrian Federal Railways...
Historical Photos...
Mariazell Railway in winter...
"Krumpe" branch line...
Steam trains on "Krumpe"...

Ybbs Valley Railway
Ybbs Valley Railway was opened in 1896 and connected Waidhofen/Ybbs, Kienberg-Gaming and Ybbsitz. The Yv type was designed for this line by Carl Goelsdorf. The first diesels were introduced in the late 30ies, steam traction ended in the 60ies. In 1988 the Lunz–Kienberg branch, which is a heritage railway today, was closed. The rest of the line provided train service until 2009, when the region was hit by heavy floodings. Because of the damages to the tracks trains were replaced by buses, the 5.5 km-line connecting Waidhofen and Gstadt is still in regular service, in 2013 the heritage railway was extended to Goestling. 
Image: 2095.005 und 009 at Lunz am See
Waidhofen´s "Citybahn"...
Kienberg-Goestling heritage railway...
Regular train service...

Gstadt–Ybbsitz branch line...

Waldviertel´s narrow gauge system
Lower Austria´s Waldviertel railways started traffic between Gmuend, Litschau and Heidenreichstein in 1900. Two years later the southern branch established a connection to Gross Gerungs. Gmuend station had to be moved in 1920 because the original one was then situated in Czech Republic (today České Velenice). Also the Litschau branch had to be rebuilt between Gmuend and Boehmzeil. Passenger traffic was suspended on the northern lines in 1986, the southern branch received newly built DMU class 5090. Altnagelberg–Heidenreichstein branch line was converted into a heritage railway in 1992. Nowadays only tourist trains operate the whole network in summer and some special days in winter.
Image: 2091.09 und Mh.1 at Alt Nagelberg junction
Today´s train service...
Tourist and heritage trains...
Regular traffic in Waldviertel...
Waldviertel n.g. modelling...

Payerbach–Hirschwang Local Railway
Payerbach–Hirschwang Local Railway (LBP-H) was opened in 1917 as an industrial railway. Passenger service was intoduced in 1926/27 and used mainly by tourists as a connection from the Semmering line to the Rax mountain cable car. In 1963 passenger traffic was suspended, freight trains operated from Hirschwang paper mill to Payerbach until 1983. The Austrian Society for Local Railways (OeGLB) founded a heritage railway named Hoellentalbahn which still exists. The Payerbach to Reichenau section was damaged in the late 90ies but was reopened in 2000. Today the railway is called "Hell Valley Railway" and is operated by a replica of a 1926 EMU which has been in service since 2004, a 1903 engine which is considered to be the oldest electric loco on 2ft. 5¾ inch gauge in service worldwide and a Heeresfeldbahn diesel. The original trailers which were sold to Zillertalbahn in 1963 finally returned to Payerbach and were restored.
Image: V2 hauling a heritage train at Payerbach Lokalbahn.
The heritage railway today...
The heritage railway in the 1980ies...
Hell Valley Railway modelling...

Die Gurk Valley Railway
This 29 km line in Carinthia was opened in 1898 between Treibach-Althofen and Klein Gloednitz. In 1968, when five (!) metres of the track were damaged by flooodings, passenger traffic was suspended and freight traffic was reduced to the 12 km section from Treibach-Althofen to Strassbourg. The last regular train left Strassbourg in 1971. Some railway enthusiasts founded the first Austrian heritage railway in 1974 on the 3km section from Treibach to Poeckstein-Zwischenwaessern which has been using small locos bought from industrial railways. Recently 699.101 and 898.01 which are former engines of the Austrian Federal Railways have been repaired and are used on special steam days in summer.
Image: Boehler 13 "Uta" heading a heritage train to Treibach-Althofen
Gurkthal heritage railway...



Vellach Valley Railway

The Kuehnsdorf to Eisenkappel line in Southern Carithia was opened in 1902 and had an important impact on the industrial development of this region. It connected the standard gauge line at Voelkermarkt-Kuehnsdorf, the cellulose works at Rechberg and its terminus Eisenkappel. In the beginning only small engines of  the T type were in use, after WW II kkStB and Heeresfeldbahn engines 199, 499, 699, 699.1, 298 and 399 hauled the trains. In 1965 passenger service was suspended, in 1971 the line was closed. 
Image: 699.101, formerly used in Vellach Valley
Pictures...



The Ybbs Tramway

The tramway of Ybbs in Lower Austria was opened in 1907 to connect the Western railway Vienna–Salzbourg at the Ybbs-Kemmelbach station and the historic town centre. The tramway operated a 3km line by two EMU which were sold to the Mixnitz–St.Erhard railway in 1953, when the line was replaced by buses. One of the EMU has luckily survived and is now exhibited in the Historama museum in Ferlach, Carinthia.
Image: EMU No. 2 preserved at "Historama" at Ferlach in Carinthia
Photos...