Progressive Development in a Mountainous Country
AN ELECTRIC EXPRESS LOCOMOTIVE on the Austrian Federal lines. The engine, 1670 class, has independent axle drive, and the wheel arrangement is 2-
BECAUSE of its geographical position in the heart of Europe, Austria has always been of importance as a stage on the line of through traffic between northern and southern Europe, and as the gateway to the Near East.
After the collapse and subsequent partition of the former Austro-
Nevertheless, several important expresses still pass through Austria. Among these are the “Orient Express”, from Calais and from Paris, and the “Ostend-
The route of the “Arlberg-
The beauty of Austria’s scenery and the fame of its healing waters attract visitors in large numbers, and the country’s greatest industry to-
It was the writer’s privilege recently to travel over the western lines in a special train to which was attached an open observation car. From this car it was easy to appreciate the immensity of the task which faced the railway engineers when constructing the line over the Arlberg Pass, tunnelling their way through high mountains, and bridging the swollen streams which flowed from the glaciers above. The tunnels are not the least of the engineering wonders of this railway, and they seem to follow in quick succession. Between Bludenz, in Vorarlberg, and Innsbruck (eighty-
ALL AUSTRIA’S MAIN LINES are controlled by the Federal Railways, including those formerly in the possession of the Empress Elizabeth’s Railway and the Austrian Southern Railway. There are 3,321 miles of standard gauge and 315 miles of narrow gauge line in existence.
It is a strange and exciting experience to ride in an observation car over such a route. The long climb to the summit over a maximum gradient of about 1 in 33, the glimpses of rushing torrents far below, and the frequent tunnels -
This line is much exposed to the forces of nature on its western section from Langen to Bludenz during the winter months. At these times the operation of the line is carried out under great difficulties, as avalanches, great and small, block the line after a sudden thaw. Even the most modern rotary snow-
Protection against avalanches necessitates the use of palisades, snow fences, snow rakes, snow bridges or sheds, and terrace walls, of which the last-
To the Tourist Centre
The Arlberg Pass is connected with Reutte and other places in the Ausserfern district by the marvellously-
Continuing along the Arlberg route and through the Upper Inn Valley, the line comes successively to Landeck and Imst, and then to Innsbruck, the capital of Tirol, and an important junction where the Paris-
IN THE SEMMERING VALLEY, AUSTRIA. A goods train crossing the curved Gamperi Viaduct. It is near Semmering that the line begins to ascend the famous Semmering Pass. Between Murzzuschlag and Gloggnitz -
Throughout this wonderful journey a veritable panorama of mountain and valley scenery passes before the eyes. Through the mountain passes and valleys, river, rail and road run side by side. At other times the river or the road can be seen far below, while the railway clings to the din face or tunnels its way through a mountain. Schwarzach-
On the recommendation of the late Sir William Acworth, a complete reorganization of the former Austrian State Railways took place in 1923. Since October 1 of that year the State-
There is an interesting piece of history attaching to the Austrian railways; the first railway built in Austria is claimed to have been also the first railway on the continent of Europe. For centuries there was an active overland traffic in salt from the mines of the Salzkammergut, near Salzburg, to Bohemia between the Danube and the Moldau. At the beginning of the nineteenth century increasing trade called for improved transport, and this led to the construction of Austria’s first railway.
Austria’s First Railway
On March 31, 1808, a memorable day in Austria’s railway history, Dr. von Gerstner, Professor of Mathematics in the University of Prague, proposed the construction of a railway line, a transport medium of which he had heard from England. Gerstner advocated a horse railway from Linz to Joachimsmuhle, but left the project in the hands of his son, who in September, 1824, was granted by the Emperor Franz I the exclusive right of building a wood and iron road between Mauthausen, on the Danube, and Budweis (now called Ceske-
AN AUSTRIAN POWER STATION west of the Tauern line. The power stations for the electrified routes are connected by transmission lines arranged for 55 kv. The system is so organized that it permits parallel working of the stations. In sub-
This was the first narrow-
Before the war of 1914-
After the grouping of the Austrian Federal Railways in 1923 as a commercial undertaking, the electrification of four important lines was authorized. Their completion in May, 1935, was a crowning achievement of the Austrian Federal Railways. They are as under:
A beginning with the work of electrification was made with the railways of Tirol which, by reason of the steep gradients and long tunnels in the Arlberg section, were particularly suitable for electric working. All these lines were electrified between 1923 and 1926. The electrification was followed by increased train speeds on the important Arlberg route from Western Europe. In consequence, the doubling of the track over this section, and the artificial ventilation of the Arlberg Tunnel, which had become necessary owing to excessive soot and smoke from steam working, were rendered unnecessary.
There are now 571 route miles of railway electrified, mostly main lines, in addition to certain short lengths originally constructed as electric railways before the war. Of these the metre-
In 1933 a new scheme was drawn up for the conversion of other steam-
ELECTRICALLY HAULED. A heavy freight train on the mountainous Mittenwald line. Extensive electrification has been the post-
As the German State Railways and the Swiss Federal Railways had adopted on their electrified lines single-
Four new power stations were built to supply the necessary energy for the electrified sections. These were at Spüllersee, near Bludenz; Ruetz, south of Innsbruck; Stubach, south of Kitzbühel; and Mallnitz, west of the Tauern line. Arrangements were also made with the privately-
The power stations are connected by transmission lines arranged for 55 kv, and the system is so laid out as to enable parallel working of all stations, as well as division into individual groups, to be possible. In the sub-
Among the many notable examples of Austrian railway engineering skill must be numbered those which were carried out before the Great War in constructing the second railway connexion with Trieste -
The total length of the Tauern Railway is fifty miles. On the north side of the Tauern range it rises 2,083 ft, and On the south side 2,251 ft. The highest point of the line is reached in the Tauern Tunnel (4,022 ft), and the steepest gradient is 1 in 37. The railway is a single line, except the section between Böckstein and Mallnitz, which includes the Tauern Tunnel.
A journey over the Tauern Railway discloses scenes of great beauty. In climbing the High Tauern the whole of the Gasteiner Valley, with its famous health resorts, is seen below. Badgastein, 3,550 ft above sea-
Work was begun on the Schwarzach-
The electrical energy consumed on this line, some 11,000,000 kw hours, is obtained from the Federal Railways power stations at 55,000 volts. As the equipment of these stations was capable of producing supplies of current considerably in excess of that previously required, the increased demand following the electrification of the Tauern Railway was met practically without cost. Mainly for this reason the cost of electrifying this line did not exceed £400,000. Similarly, power for the northern section of the line is supplied by the main lines sub-
The saving in journey time resulting from the electrification of the Tauern Railway section amounts, as with the Arlberg line, to about twenty-
Road competition and the heavy decrease in traffic led the railways to construct small high-
Experiments are also being made with Diesel engines, and various types were put into service in 1934 on secondary lines, as well as for feeding services to important railway centres. An eight-
The passenger carriages of the Austrian Federal Railways number 7,854, and freight wagons, 33,660. The trains usually carry three classes. Third-
A large number of carriages and wagons have been scrapped in recent years, and replaced by modern stock of steel construction. Altogether, a sum of £3,000,000 has been expended on new rolling-
With the introduction of electric traction, considerable difficulties presented themselves. The permanent way, due to the effects of the war, was in a bad condition. This and the severe gradients on many of the electric lines accounted for the multiplicity of types of electric locomotives originally introduced, but these have since been standardized and reduced in number.
THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS. A train on the spectacular Semmering Pass route from Vienna to the south. Because of the heavy gradients the express is hauled by a 2-
For the miles of electric lines west of Salzburg three locomotive running sheds were built from 1923 to 1929, namely: Innsbruck, Bludenz and Salzburg. Innsbruck running shed provides the electric locomotives for nearly all trains-
Innsbruck also provides power, with the sub-
The long and difficult mountain sections in Tirol impose serious restrictions in speed. In spite of these disabilities it is possible for an electric train to cover the fifteen and a half miles section from Bludenz to Langen, with a mean gradient of 1 in 33, in thirty-
To increase the reliability of the train services numerous improvements in signalling and safety appliances have been introduced, such as colour-
There are also numerous mountain railways, some of which are electric and worked in connexion with the State railways, while others are funicular and cogwheel or suspension railways. One of the most interesting of these mountain railways is the Semmeringbahn, one of the oldest mountain railways in Europe.
On this line there is a succession of tunnels as the railway climbs to the summit of 3,000 ft over viaducts, and numerous galleries until the final tunnel, 1,530 yards long, is reached. There are in all about eighteen mountain railways of narrow or normal gauge, rising to various heights through tunnels and galleries and providing superb scenery.
There are also about a dozen cogwheel and suspension railways in various parts of the country, by which the tops of lofty mountains are reached in a few minutes without the slightest difficulty. The summit stations are usually provided with modern hotels and restaurants, and from them excellent ski-
Two of these suspension railways are easily reached from Innsbruck. The Patscherkofel is the massive northwestern pillar of the lower Alps of Tux. From the mountain hotel at the top of the railway (7,570 ft), which is reached in about twenty minutes from Igis, near Innsbruck, there is a magnificent panorama comprising 400 mountain peaks.
On the opposite side of Innsbruck, and seemingly just at the end of the Mariatheresienstrasse, is the Hafelekar, the top of which (7,660 ft) is reached by a combination of funicular and suspension railway in an hour. This summit commands a fine view of the Karwendel Mountains, the Inn Valley, the Zillertaler Alps, and the Stubaitaler Alps.
There is, in addition, the Vienna City Railway, or Stadtbahn, which is a sort of Inner Circle and was formerly worked by the Austrian Federal Railways by steam. After the War, however, it was found impossible to carry it on as a railway. It was therefore electrified and converted into a tramway as part of the municipal tramway system. The Stadtbahn did not connect the seven main line stations of Vienna. This is done by the Suburban-
A MODERN AUSTRIAN LOCOMOTIVE with an unusual wheel arrangement known as the reversed “Mountain” or 2-
[From part 31, published 30 August 1935]