Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

Austria September 2013

After a very enjoyable trip to Switzerland in April we wanted to visit some other equally as scenic parts of Europe and Austria was one such place. As an add on to that I soon became aware, through my research, of an impending disaster; whereby the Mariazellerbahn would soon replace their 100 year old 1099 locomotives with brand spanking new EMUs to operate the St. Pölten – Mariazell line. This then moved Austria up the pecking order and rather than go in the middle of Winter we decided to go before Winter set in instead. Unfortunately for me the Mariazellerbahn introduced their new EMUs on 5th September to all but put an end to anything untoward occurring on the line; there’d still be two 1099 turns in the morning but nothing like what had been occurring; for example the previous week there’d been at least 2 x 1099’s out a day, along with 3 x 2095’s!

Flights

Booked through Opodo, out with Austrian Airlines back with Lufthansa £146.45 each

OS452 0915 Heathrow – Vienna

LH2478 1525 Munich – Heathrow

Hotels

St Pölten – Hotel-Gasthof Graf (2 minutes from station entrance) €110 per night for a double room

Zell am See – Hotel Feinschmeck (5 minute walk from station) €130 per night for a double room

Train Tickets

InterRail Single Country Pass for Austria (5 Days in 10) (booked through www.interrail.eu) – £245

Advance single ticket from Zell am See to Munich Airport (booked through DB online) – €19 each

Wednesday 11th September 2013

Having stayed at the Heathrow Ibis the night before we flew it made the getting up for our 0915 flight a little easier and we were at the airport by 0800, already having checked in the day before  and having our electronic boarding passes on our phones. The flight itself was harmless and on time.

Getting from Vienna Airport to town is easy enough and depending on where you’re going there are plenty of options via either OBB (S-bahn) or City Airport Train (CAT) trains and U-bahn. The CAT train is a lot heavier on the pocket than the normal OBB S-bahn and is only slightly quicker, however as we had Interrail tickets we didn’t need to worry about that although we did try and get on the CAT but were politely told that our Interrail tickets were not valid; something we already knew but if you don’t try, you don’t get……

The aim of the evening had originally been to see what was working on the Mariazellerbahn; the urgency of that plan now not being so great since the new EMUs had been introduced so a more leisurely move to get to St Pölten was taken rather than dashing around on train/u-bahn & foot. EMU to Renweg for a bit of a step back spin in the tunnels to Meidling then another EMU round the corner to Hütteldorf and 1144276 into Westbahnhof; where lunch was served from one of the many fast food restaurants at the station.

Our conveyance to St Pölten was a RJ168 1536 Wien Westbahnhof – Zurich HB Railjet service and what a mighty fine train service they operate. The sets are clean, very fast, smooth, have free WiFi throughout and electronic displays on board showing connections, the platforms they depart from and the real-time speed the train is travelling at; never mind the rubbish our Government is having built for the ECML to replace the 91s & Mk 4s, the Railjet sets and Taurus locos would have been ideal! We covered the 60km in 25 minutes, reaching speeds of 140mph (225kmph); very impressed I was!

The Hotel Graf is a two minute walk away from the station entrance and we were checked in within minutes. The place has a restaurant & bar and nice clean room with a very modern look about them, including the corridors of the hotel itself. Breakfast was included and we never had any issues to complain about at all during our stay. We did use the restaurant one night too, the schnitzel being excellent.

Pleasantries dealt with at the hotel the afternoon was turning into evening and a quick scan at the Mariazell platforms revealed a nice shiny EMU on the 1635 to Mariazell, which then allowed for a quick spin to Prinzersdorf on the stoppers revealing a rarity on the return in an 1142, 1142644 to be precise. We’d seen plenty of 1142s parked up in various yards during our journey from the Airport to St Pölten and had been told that they were a dying breed so getting one in so early in the trip was quite pleasing; we actually only see one other on passenger work during the whole trip!

Rather than eat in St Pölten, which didn’t look to have much going for it other than the hotel restaurant, we opted to head into Vienna, which was only a 30 minute journey on most express trains. Our conveyance to town being Taurus 1116095 on IC867 1011 Bregenz – Wien Westbahnhof.

From Westbahnhof we took the U-bahn to Stephansplatz. There are day tickets, which are actually valid for 24 hours after validity that are worth the money if you’re going to use them all day. However it actually turned out cheaper for us to buy a single ticket in each direction.

The very imposing St Stephens Cathedral hits you the moment you walk out from the U-bahn station and there are plenty of places scattered about to eat at. Having done the window shopping for food places we settled on the Italian Ristorante Fratelli, which also seemed to be the busiest place we’d seen. The food was excellent, the service good and our food arrived in no time at all.

Ready for a relaxing evening in the hotel we headed back to St Pölten via the U-bahn to Westbahnhof and then EN490 2000 Wien Westbahnhof – Hamburg Altona with Taurus 1116280. This train didn’t use the high speed line via Tulnerfeld and took a little longer to reach St Pölten but the journey was comfortable in the empty compartments and we were relaxing in no time.

Gen for Wednesday 11th September 2013 

1116080 2337 1226 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt

1116095 IC867 1011 Bregenz – Wien Westbahnhof, IC746 1956 Wien Westbahnhof – Salzburg

1116209/250 RJ168 1536 Wien Westbahnhof – Zurich HB

1116280 EN490 2000 Wien Westbahnhof – Hamburg Altona

1142644 2079 1654 Pochlarn – St Polten

1144021 2239 1348 Wien Floridsdorf – Payerbach Reichenau

1144276 1627 1219 St Valentin – Wien Westbahnhof

1144284 1628 1604 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin

Mariazellerbahn

2095015 6833 1535 St Polten – Laubenbachmuhle (assumed)

New EMU 6815 1635 St Polten – Mariazell

The Moves

OE-LBMM Heathrow T1 Vienna 0915 Heathrow – Vienna OS452
4020260 Wien Airport Wien Rennweg 1317 Wien Airport – Wien Floridsdorf 29540
4020302
1116080 Wien Rennweg Wien HB 1226 Breclav – Wiener Neustadt 2337
1144021 Wien HB Wien Meidling 1348 Wien Floridsdorf – Payerbach Reichenau 2239
4024100 Wien Meidling Wien Hutteldorf 1340 Bruck Leitha – Hutteldorf 26046
1144276 Wien Hutteldorf Wien Westbahnhof 1219 St Valentin – Wien Westbahnhof 1627
1116209 Wien Westbahnhof St Polten 1536 Wien Westbahnhof – Zurich HB RJ168
1116250
1144284 St Polten Prinzersdorf 1604 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin 1628
1142644 Prinzersdorf St Polten 1654 Pochlarn – St Polten 2079
1116095 St Polten Wien Westbahnhof 1011 Bregenz – Wien Westbahnhof IC867
1116280 Wien Westbahnhof St Polten 2000 Wien Westbahnhof – Hamburg Altona EN490

 

Thursday 12th September 2013

To make sure there were no unwanted mishaps with the days move on the Mariazllerbahn I nipped out before breakfast to make sure the 0730 St Pölten – Mariazell was hauled and not randomly an EMU or even DMU. I found 1099016 sat in with the stock, waiting to go; not a 100 year old 1099, which I’d really wanted, but still it was hauled and that was a bonus. What I hadn’t expected to find in the Marizell line platforms, and something that did slightly wither me, was 2095015 on the blocks, having arrived moments before I got to the station, with 6824 0550 Laubenbachmühle – St Pölten. This annoyed me slightly as I then began wondering what it had worked out the previous day; had it done the 1535, which I hadn’t been bothered about missing, or indeed the 1735 which had I actually looked across as we arrived back from Prinzersdorf I’d have actually seen sitting in the platform? Either way it seemed I’d made an error of judgement the previous evening; something which I pondered over breakfast.

The 0830 St Pölten – Mariazell was formed of its booked Ötscherland set of brown coaches and 1099013 in the same livery. Again though unfortunately ‘013 wasn’t a 100 year old 1099 so it seemed my quest may well have failed in getting one in. Still we were on board and settled in to the very empty set, right behind the guards’ compartment at the front, with plenty of time to spare.

There couldn’t have been any more than half a dozen folk on board at any one time throughout our journey to Mitterbach, the last station before Mariazell. The narrow gauge stock was interesting in its own right with a slightly claustrophobic feel. The heating worked well when cranked up full, which it needed to be as it wasn’t a warm morning at all, and the windows all came down appropriately to allow for photos when required. The guard on board was sociable and had no problem with accepting our Interrail passes, which are valid on the Mariazellerbahn; the details confirming which are on their website. The guard also confirmed to me at Gösing that we’d be ok running through to Mitterbach to do the leap as the trains crossed. I’d been expecting a little more in the way of reality from some of the main stations, at least somewhere to get a drink or something but it became clear that there was absolutely nothing, anywhere, hence the move to Mitterbach really.

At St Pölten Alpenbahnhof, where the Növog shed is located, the following were noted:

1099001, 1099010 & 1099008 dumped by the shed, and 1099002 outside the main shed with 2095015 still attached to the set it had shunted out earlier that morning. There were other locos scattered about that I couldn’t get the numbers of. The only other thing we saw was 2095010 on a works train at Ober Grafendorf.

The line isn’t that scenic in terms of mountains and runs through some very open areas, mainly surrounded by fields, as it twists, turns and climbs to Mariazell. The best of the scenery is between Gösing & Mitterbach where the line climbs the most and there are mountains to view. Some of the best sights on our journey however were provided by the ever changing sky and the cloud formations within; from sunny with white fluffy clouds to dark with black clouds and sun rays piercing through, and back again. It was very atmospheric.

1099016 was already sat in waiting for us as we arrived off the single line into Mitterbach. Despite the guard shouting across to his counterpart that we would be returning with the opposing train, there was no rush as the crew on 1099016 had to get the right of way first and confirm they had the section ahead; this is the same at every non-request stop on the line.

The return journey to St Pölten took a bit longer than going out, mainly because 1099013 had been delayed by a DMU en-route and in turn that delayed 1099016 and train, which ultimately had to wait for the 1235 St Pölten – Frankenfels at Hofstetten-Grünau vice Ober Grafendorf, resulting in us being about 20 late back into St Pölten.

Due to our lack of forward thinking and the fact that there was nothing en-route we were desperately in need of a drink and something to eat by the time we got back and as we’d missed the train we’d expected to make at St Pölten we ended up taking a punt for the Chinese Restaurant over the road from the station. This turned out to be a decent plan, the buffet having a decent selection of food, most of which was fresh, and it wasn’t full and rowdy, allowing a leisurely lunch instead of a rushed affair.

Having not gone into Vienna for lunch allowed for an early afternoon spin on the Pöchlarn/St Valentin stoppers, the first of which offered up the second, and last, 1142 of the trip, 1142628 on 2070 1435 St Pölten – Pöchlarn. Having done two round trips to Prinzersdorf, the second of which included 1624 1404 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin which is booked two sets, I was pondering what to do next; and then it slapped me in the face as we arrived into St Pölten! 2095015 was only sat waiting to depart with 6833 1535 St Pölten – Laubenbachmühle.

On board with a few minutes to spare, in the empty front coach, right behind the engine, I was thanking the fact that I’d glanced across to the Mariazell platforms as we’d arrived. The guard on board was the same one we’d had on board 1099016 and she was quite surprised to see us and couldn’t quite understand why we got off at Frankenfels when we’d told her we were going to Laubenbachmühle; her face was a right picture as she passed us stood on the platform, the little 2095 hammering off into the distance. I have to say being a big fan of Alco’s there isn’t much that gets my ears going in the world but I was suitable impressed with 2095015. It made a crisp noise, quite meaty and had a bit of a growl to it; it kept me on my feet at the window throughout the journey, so it must have been ok! I’d been told by various people that they were ok and they hadn’t appeared to be wrong.

The journey back into St Pölten was on 1099013 returning from its day out at Mariazell, with a few more passengers on board than it had gone out with. The skyline en-route gave way to a nice hazy evening with the cloud cover only allowing the sun to peek through every now and again, lighting up the wind turbines, silently spinning in the distance, as it did. As we passed back through Alpenbahnhof 1099002 was attached to the Mariazell end of a set, looking like it may well work the 0730 ex St Pölten the following morning and giving me reason to get up early and view it just in case.

With the day all but over a quick run into Wien Westbahnhof, more to get supplies for the following day than anything else, resulted in just that. Any ideas we had of doing a spin move to Hütteldorf and stepping back from the 1956 Salzburg onto the 2000 Hamburg were put to bed as we departed on the 1956 Salzburg while the 2000 Hamburg sat in the adjacent platform still minus the Köln portion of its train and more specifically, a loco! It had been a long day, and hadn’t quite gone the way I’d either originally planned, or expected on the day. Dinner was served in the hotel restaurant that night; my first ever schnitzel, accompanied by a beer.

Gen for Thursday 12th September 2013

Mariazellerbahn

2095015 6824 0550 Laubenbachmuhle – St Polten, 6833 1535 St Polten – Laubenbachmuhle

1099013 6807 0830 St Polten – Mariazell, 6806 1253 Mariazell – Gösing, 6811 1434 Gösing – Mariazell, 6810 1553 Mariazell – St Polten

1099016 6805 0730 St Polten – Mariazell, 6804 1053 Mariazell – St Polten

ET2 6802, 6809, 6808

ET4 6813

ET3 on test at Laubenbachmuhle

5090015/016 6826, 6827, 6834, 6831, 6838 6837

5090011/014 6829, 6836, 6835 (5090014 on its own)

OBB

See below moves for the gen

The Moves

1099013 St Polten Mitterbach 0830 St Polten – Mariazell 6807
1099016 Mitterbach St Polten 1053 Mariazell – St Polten 6804
1142628 St Polten Pinzersdorf 1435 St Polten – Pochlarn 2070
1144077 Prinzersdorf St Polten 1319 St Valentin – Wien Westbahnhof 1629
1144056 St Polten Prinzersdorf 1404 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin 1624
1144271
1144214 Prinzersdorf St Polten 1454 Pochlarn – St Polten 2075
2095015 St Polten Frankenfels 1535 St Polten – Laubenbachmuhle 6833
1099013 Frankenfels St Polten 1553 Mariazell – St Polten 6810
1116206 St Polten Wien Westbahnhof 1527 Munich HB – Wien Westbahnhof RJ69
1116176 Wien Westbahnhof St Polten 1956 Wien Westbahnhof – Salzburg IC746

 

Friday 13th September 2013

My pre-breakfast walk to the station turned into a pre-breakfast run to St Pölten Alpenbahnhof after I found 1911 built 1099002 at the business end of the 0730 St Pölten – Mariazell; just the 102 years old and still working on the same line it was built for. It’s absolutely astounding really that the little thing has outlived man, beast and stood the test of time, pushing away the one thing that should have seen it off many years previous; modernisation & technological advancement! Incidentally, just as I arrived at the station, so did 2095015 with 6824 0550 Laubenbachmühle – St Pölten.

Unfortunately I couldn’t go any further than Alpenbahnhof due to other plans that day. Nothing had changed on shed but 1099016 was shunting about in the station yard preparing to back into St Pölten with the brown set for the 0830 Mariazell. My conveyance back to town, and towards breakfast, was Hainfeld – St Pölten DMU; rather convenient really.

Before leaving the Növog station though I did manage to ask the train crew at the station which trains would be loco-hauled during the rest of the day; the answer being the 0830 ex St Pölten, which 1099016 looked set to work again, and the 1535 ex St Pölten. I was then informed that the latter would be the last day that it was loco-hauled and that it had been all week. From Saturday onwards it would be a DMU.

Our original plans for the day had been to go into Vienna and do the tourist bits and then make our way to Graz that evening, which was conveniently situated for our plan to cover the Breitenauerbahn at Mixnitz the following day (Sat) where the line was celebrating its 100th anniversary. However having got wind of the fact that the Növog run Wachaubahn from Krems to Emmersdorf was hauled daily I managed to cancel the hotel in Graz and book another night in the Graf at St Pölten instead. This would allow us to cover the Wachaubahn, then make our way into Vienna and not have to rush away anywhere that afternoon, or evening for that matter.

Our journey to Krems was on board 6031 0831 St Pölten – Krems with 2016002, one of the few morning hauled trains on the line. From Krems we boarded the Wachaubahn’s 1000 to Emmersdorf, formed of 2143021 and load three. It was freezing on board and without any heat made for a cold journey indeed. It was a far cry from the warmth that the Mariazellerbahn had offered the previous morning. Unfortunately the weather had turned miserable and not only was it cold but it had started to rain as well. I’m sure the journey down the Danube is usually a lot nicer than we experienced but unfortunately both the cold stock and the dismal weather outside didn’t allow for much enjoyment; and 2143021 made no noise at all, so not even anything up front to keep me appeased. Thankfully though the journey cost us nothing, the guard allowing us to use our Interrail passes on board, something which I hadn’t expected and it didn’t say they were valid anywhere on the Wachaubahn website; unlike the Mariazellerbahn website. Rather than do the train back to Krems and head to Vienna from there we opted to do the connecting bus to Melk and head into Vienna from there; saving quite a bit of time. The bus stop is just outside the station building and wasn’t actually a bus at all the day we used it; the service was provided by a taxi, which had a notice in the window to confirm it was running the Postbus connecting service to Melk. There were only 4 passengers on board and we even managed to blag our way out of paying for that journey too, the taxi driver accepting our Interrail passes after a bit of deliberation with himself.

Melk looked like a decent enough, sleepy, town to visit with its prominent Abbey overlooking its church and everything else below it. We had a quick walk round while waiting for our train then headed for Wien Westbahnhof via a few moves on the St Valentin locals, one of which threw up 1142644 again, which we actually got off at St Pölten while it was en-route to Wien Westbahnhof and then watched it arrive after we’d done 1116202 in on a Railjet, and had lunch at the station!

The afternoon seemed to be brightening up a little so we picked our top choice of attractions, Schönbrunn Palace, and off we set. Firstly via Hütteldorf on 1624 1404 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin with its booked two sets, one of which was, as per diagram, one of the sets from the previous days turn, 1144043 & set led 1144056 & set. From Hütteldorf we bought ourselves a 24 hour U-bahn ticket and took U4 to Schönbrunn for the short walk to the palace gates.

Unfortunately the heavens had opened just as we’d left Schönbrunn Palace so any plans we had of visiting Belvedere Palace were out of the window as the rain got heavier and looked set in for the rest of the afternoon. The result being a rush hour spin about in the tunnels beneath Vienna! With the help of my Eurail App and the various screens at all the stations I was soon almost understanding which direction I was/should be going and with the sheer amount of loco-hauled trains running through in the evening rush even if one was late or you missed one, there’d be another along shortly afterwards. Of course nothing went 100% to plan but just over an hour later, having had 11 engines of which 10 were 1144s and 1 was 1116, we emerged at Stephansplatz to find the deluge still ongoing.

The rain resulted in the Ristorante Fratelli being full inside, with a few daft folk braving the cold, trying not to get wet as they did so, outside under the cover of the table umbrellas. As luck had it a table became available the moment we walked through the door; which was good news for us but not for others who had to wait quite a while for tables to become available.

Evening over, and still raining, we made our way to Westbahnhof to view what had become our “usual” two trains IC746 1956 to Salzburg & EN490 2000 to Hamburg Altona which both produced new engines and both managed to have engines on as the first departed, with us on board to Hütteldorf. Bidding farewell to 1116281 we were soon boarding 1116182 (not confusing at all) right behind for the longer run to St Pölten; where we’d be packing our bags in readiness for our departure the following morning.

Gen for Friday 13th September 2013

Mariazell

2095015 6824 0550 Laubenbachmuhle – St Polten

1099002 6805 0730 St Polten – Mariazell

1099016 6807 0830 St Polten – Mariazell

Wachaubahn

2143021 16950 1000 Krems – Emmersdorf, 16951 1140 Emmersdorf – Krems

OBB

See below moves for the gen

The Moves

1099002 St Polten St Polten Alpenbahnhof 0730 St Polten – Mariazell 6805
5047041 St Polten Alpenbahnhof St Polten 0702 Hainfeld – Krems a. d. Donau 6605
5047017
5047040
2016002 St Polten Krems a. d. Donau 0831 St Polten – Krems a. d. Donau 6031
2143021 Krems a. d. Donau Emmersdorf 1000 Krems a. d. Donau – Emmersdorf 16950
4020311 Melk Loosdorf 1154 Pochlarn – St Polten 2069
1144094 Loosdorf Melk 1104 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin 1618
1142644 Melk St Polten 1205 Amstetten No – Wien Westbahnhof 1625
1116202 St Polten Wien Westbahnhof 0927 Munich HB – Budapest Keleti RJ63
1144043 Wien Westbahnhof Wien Hutteldorf 1404 Wien Westbahnhof – St Valentin 1624
1144056
1144282 Wien Meidling Wien Quarter Belvedere 1540 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal 2348
1144210 Wien Quarter Belvedere Wien HB 1456 Znojmo – Payerbach Reichenau 2249
1144248 Wien HB Wien Rennweg 1524 Payerbach Reichenau – Znojmo 2250
1144121 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1610 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal 2350
1144114 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1706 Wien Floridsdorf – Wiener Neustadt 2351
1144268 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1554 Payerbach Reichenau – Retz 2252
1116157 Wien Mitte Wien Praterstern 1640 Wiener Neustadt – Breclav 2352
1144055 Wien Praterstern Wien Rennweg 1633 Bernhardsthal – Wiener Neustadt 2353
1144270 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1624 Payerbach Reichenau – Retz 2254
1144101 Wien Mitte Wien Rennweg 1748 Wien Floridsdorf – Payerbach Reichenau 2255
1144235 Wien Rennweg Wien Mitte 1710 Wiener Neustadt – Bernhardsthal 2354
1116281 Wien Westbahnhof Wien Hutteldorf 1956 Wien Westbahnhof – Salzburg IC746
1116182 Wien Hutteldorf St Polten 2000 Wien Westbahnhof – Hamburg Altona EN490

 

Saturday 14th September 2013

I couldn’t resist the walk to the station to view the 0730 St Pölten – Mariazell; just in case. And the just in case paid off, although it wasn’t another 100 year old 1099, it was a different 1099, this time 1099014; which I hadn’t seen knocking around the shed at all. As advised by the staff at St Pölten Alpenbahnhof the previous day I witnessed 6824 0550 Laubenbachmühle arrive with a single DMU; no 2095015 on this morning, so it appeared that the staff had been right about the 1535 not being hauled again after Friday.

Breakfast over, we bode farewell to St Pölten and made the late running EN491 2020 (13/09) Hamburg Altona – Wien Westbahnhof with Taurus 1116280, which had stuck to diagram from 3 days previous when we’d had it ex Westbahnhof on its opposing working, EN490. Unfortunately I forgot that EN491 would take the chutney route into town and thus boarding it resulted in us actually arriving into Westbahnhof 15 minutes later than we would have waiting the 8 minutes or so at St Pölten for the IC we’d originally planned to do. What it meant was the likelihood of making EC71 0439 Prague – Wiener Neustadt was quite slim; however perseverance paid off and having used our 24 hour U-bahn ticket that we’d bought the previous day we were instantly on a train to Meidling and no sooner had we managed to make it up the steps and onto the train did 1216236 depart. If only all moves were like that eh?

After half an hour of relaxing on the empty station that was Wiener Neustadt we were on board RJ557 1003 Meidling – Graz, forward to Bruck a. d. Mur with yet another slightly confusing Taurus at its helm, 1116236; made so by the fact that we’d had 1216236 into Wiener Neustadt, resulting in me having to check my book to make sure I’d written the correct numbers down.

The journey to Bruck is slow but understandably so given the terrain the train negotiates. The mountains spring up one by one until all that’s visible outside both sides of the train is rugged mountains. The downtime onboard allowed for some much needed use of the free WiFi and Bruck seemed to come around all too quickly, where unfortunately we had to do an EMU forward to Mixnitz as all the locals at a weekend are EMU and not hauled.

Arriving into Mixnitz the Breitenauerbahn is visible, coming in from the left, the line running into the small yard complex that the railway owns. There were plenty of people about and within 5 minutes of arriving we were among those plenty of people having walked out of the station and down the yard area to the only place it seemed sensible to depart trains from. The rules about walking on tracks were pretty relaxed and it was a bit of a free for all. I’d been told via e-mail prior to our trip that the railway intended to use two of their locos on trains during the day and have two on display, the former being E3 & E4, however E1, E2 & E3 were all in the shed, out of sight which could only mean E4 was out with the train somewhere.

We were soon accosted for a ticket and handed over €20 for two tickets on the 1240 train to St Erhard. I’d actually expected more folk to be around than there were although there was some kind of food type tent going off over the way and the odd stall in the train shed. Of course I had no clue how busy it was on a normal day. Once the train arrived in though, the place seemed to bustle a little more and sure enough E4 was the loco, complete with celebratory headboard at one end.

The load three set consisted of two small coaches with seating and an open but roofed coach with standing room only. There were no toilets on board so the public toilets outside were busy before departure, quite a few folk having “had a few” as well.

The afternoon was quite warm, when the sun was out, and the run along the line was quite nice. All the while we were followed by a couple of sets of photographers following the train with their cameras out at every possible point they could. Thankfully for them the road followed the line for most of the way and they were way faster than the train. They could have been a bit luckier with the sun to cloud ratio though!

At St Erhard, only 11km away from Mixnitz, its evident why the railway operates and what it transports, the termination point being at a big cement works. E4 was off in no time and once it had run round we were away on our way back towards Mixnitz; photographers in tow. This time they had a little more luck with the sun on the way back.

Back at Mixnitz there was a celebratory lining up of all 4 Breitenauerbahn locos, E4, E3 & E2 looking serviceable with E1 not even managing to get its pantograph to touch the wires. After a token run-by in the station area E4 was hooked off to work the 1420 departure while E3 shunted the lot back into the shed and put everything away again. As E3 wasn’t coming out to play we weren’t doing a second trip, which actually looked like a relief with the amount of people that had loaded themselves into the train. Before the train departed the guy who seemed to be running the show took great delight in announcing over his PA system, and he really liked the sound of his own voice, that two English folk had turned up to join in their 100th anniversary celebrations, while pointing in our direction; there’s nothing like being singled out…….

Having photted E4 depart towards St Erhard again we did the next EMU to Bruck and consumed lunch, courtesy of the station buffet, on the empty station, in the glorious afternoon sunshine. From there we were Zell am See bound, via EC103 to Leoben, IC610 for the bulk of the journey to Bischofshofen, IC692 to Schwarzach St Veit and then an EMU forward to Zell am See; 1116156, 1144200, 1116155 & 4023007 in that order. Arrival into Zell am See was just before 2000 and we were at our hotel, the Hotel Feinschmeck 10 minutes after arrival.

Martina in the hotel’s reception had been expecting us and it looked like she’d kept the reception desk open just for us to arrive. I’d had to e-mail to confirm our arrival would be after 1800 so was guessing the reception closed at 1800 under normal circumstances. Bless the woman, she couldn’t have been more pleasant & helpful, handing us maps of the surrounding area and most importantly printing out our Zell am See / Kaprun Card, which allowed for massive discounts in the local area, on buses, cable cars and a whole host of other things. These cards were only available to hotel residents at participating hotels in the Zell am See / Kaprun area, which for example allow for unlimited travel on the cable cars to Kitzsteinhorn & Schmittenhöhe at this time of year, with instant savings of over €70.

Pleasantries done we were in the room about 10 minutes after walking through the door. It was a large, clean room with complimentary bath robes and slippers along with the usual toiletries. Unfortunately that night we were woken by the locals leaving the night club down the street; it was a Saturday night though. Yet the following night there was no excuse for the racket the amorous couple were making in the room next door. Of course neither incident is a reflection on the hotel at all, which provided an excellent service, had ample choice at breakfast and of course had the delightful Martina in reception, who was only too pleased to help out with any directions, bus times, or maps we needed.

A good meal was needed and we’d already decided on Ristorante Giuseppe, which we’d found in Lonely Planet, and only happened to be a 2 minute walk from the hotel. As it was Saturday the place was quite well packed but it didn’t stop the staff from messing around with our pizza order to give us what we wanted, rather than what was on their menu; and cracking pizzas they were too.

All in all a long, but enjoyable day. I was ready for bed that night though…….

Gen for Saturday 14th September 2013

Breitenauerbahn (100th anniversary)

E4 appears to have worked the whole days’ service, with E1, E2 & E3 being on display in the shed at Mixnitz Lokalbahn

OBB (other than mentioned in the moves below)

1116111/242 RJ630 1314 Villach – Wien Meidling

111226 RJ655 1403 Wien Meidling – Graz

MAV 470005 1515 1745 Wörgl – Salzburg

The Moves

1099014 St Polten St Polten Alpenbahnhof 0730 St Polten – Mariazell 6805
5047060 St Polten Alpenbahnhof St Polten 0702 Hainfeld – Krems a. d. Donau 6605
1116280 St Polten Wien Westbahnhof 2020 (13/09) Hamburg Altona – Wien Westbahnhof EN491
1216236 Wien Meidling Wiener Neustadt 0439 Prague – Wiener Neustadt EC71
1116236 Wiener Neustadt Bruck a. d. Mur 1003 Wien Meidling – Graz RJ557
4024043 Bruck a. d. Mur Mixnitz 1111 Muzzuschlag – Spielfeld Strass 4020
E4 Mixnitz Lokalbahn St Erhard 1240 Mixnitz – St Erhard
E4 St Erhard Mixnitz Lokalbahn 1325 St Erhard – Mixnitz
4024002 Mixnitz Bruck a. d. Mur 1309 Spielfeld Strass – Bruck a. d. Mur 4022
1116156 Bruck a. d. Mur Leoben 0613 Warsaw Wschodnia – Villach EC103
1144200 Leoben Bischofshofen 1537 Graz – Salzburg IC610
1116155 Bischofshofen Schwarzach St Veit 1456 Wien Westbahnhof – Klagenfurt IC692
4023007 Schwarzach St Veit Zell am See 1912 Schwarzach St Veit – Saalfelden 5044

 

Sunday 15th September 2013

Not an early start, thankfully, after the noise from the nightclub kicking out at various points in the night. The plan for the day was to do Krimml Waterfalls; and what better way to get there than by the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn (PLB) to Krimml then connecting bus forward to the Falls. I was under the impression that the 0900 Zell am See – Krimml was a 2095 on Sat/Sun/Bank Holidays throughout the Summer season and after 2095015 on the Mariazellerbahn I was quite looking forward to another run with one. Unfortunately though my expectations were short lived and the train was worked by a 2096 instead, Vs81 in the PLB numbering system; and precisely Vs81 itself. I know its hard for an engine to make less than no noise but trust me when I say I can’t really compare the lack of noise to anything else as even the dullest of electrics make more noise; yet bizarrely the thing emitted clag when setting off from station stops!

The two coach train, with van for bicycles, was empty virtually all the way to Krimml, which allowed me the luxury of picking any window I wanted to point my camera out of. Having had success the previous day on the Wachaubahn at Krems we just had to try our luck again with the Interrail passes but this time they weren’t accepted, neither was our Zell am See / Kaprun card; you just never know what you might get away with as a tourist! The ticket price in the end cost €19 and it was a ticket that is valid all weekend for up to three people for unlimited travel on the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn; which is cracking value.

The engine might well have been dull but the scenery en-route to Krimml was anything but, made all the more interesting by the cloud hanging around in the valley as though it just couldn’t quite make it to the tops of the surrounding mountains, over the edge and away. Between which every now and again tallest of snow sprinkled mountains was revealed with the sun glimmering off their white peaks; a sign of what was around the corner for these parts, while the valley floor made the best of its current alpine greenness.

The journey was booked to take 1h23m and that’s exactly how long it took. The little Vs81 delivering us to Krimml station, right next to the Postbus bus stop where the number 671 connects both into departing trains and out of arriving trains to ferry people the 3km to the Falls entrance. Bus tickets were €3.80 return, per person, and we actually bought ours on board the train on the journey up to Krimml. The bus was prompt enough and ferried us up the winding hill to the falls in no time.

After a thoroughly enjoyable hike to the top of Krimml Falls we were back at the station for the 1433 train back to Zell am See with a different 2096, this time Vs82, and Vs83 was out on the 3rd turn on the Krimml circuit as well. Back in Zell am See I’d concocted a plan to do an afternoon trip to Saalfelden and back but that went down the pan when the outbound was 10 late so we went for an early-ish evening meal, having only really eaten breakfast all day anyway. We opted to try the Indian Restaurant on Bahnhof Strasse, near the church, and were slightly disappointed with the food; it smelling a lot nicer than it actually tasted. Not that it wasn’t nice, it just wasn’t tasty, neither the pasta nor the curry.

Food done and Zell am See dead on a Sunday night, what else could we do other than leap about on a few trains of an evening, and a decent plan fell into place. Firstly I’d noticed a train with a Hungarian 1047 on it the previous day and figured out it was a booked turn; train 1515 1745 Wörgl – Salzburg. We had 1144126 to Saalfelden for the same 470 I’d spotted the day before back; 470005. Conveniently the third of the three 2096s on the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn would be arriving into Zell am See 35 minutes after we arrived and 25 minutes after we’d arrived we were standing on Schüttdorf Tischlerhausl station, having taken a leisurely, brisk walk round the edge of Lake Zell to get there. In the 10 minutes we were there we found the whole fleet of PLB 2095’s lined up under cover by the shed, along with their 2091; all looked in a very well kept state. Our weekend ticket came in very handy for this short move of an evening and back at Zell am See Vs83 went back out with a 2000 service to Krimml, despite the timetable showing the train as Saturdays only!

Having watch the highlight of our evening being set up on Lake Zell, the “Magic Lake Show“, just as we were walking back to the hotel for something to do, via the only way of crossing the line, which was under the station underpass, in came 1144017 on Rex5039 1837 Wörgl – Schwarzach St Veit; it would have been rude not to so we passed the next 45 minutes with a trip to Bruck-Fusch for 1144085 back on 1514 1910 Salzburg – Wörgl, which deposited us at the station with enough time to walk back to the lakes’ edge and find a nice fence post to rest the camera on and get some cracking images of the “Magic Lake Show” display, that commenced bang on the dot at 2130. The whole thing went on for 20 minutes and yet it seemed like 2. The photos I got were well worth the 20 minutes of our time though.

That really was it for the evening and bed followed shortly afterwards, to be woken only once by the headboard of the bed next door banging against our wall; shortly before a rather loud climax! Then it went silent; thank god!

Gen for Sunday 15th September 2013

Pinzgauerb Lokalbahn (trains viewed listed only)

Vs81 – 3307, 3308, 3313, 3320, 3325

Vs82 – 3316, 3321, 3322

Vs83 – 3311, 3318, 3329, 3330 (the latter being an SO train but it ran on Sun)

Vs71, 72 & 73 all stabled on shed at Schuttdorf Tischlerhausl  under cover

OBB (other than mentioned in the moves below)

1116025 IC649 1413 Innsbruck – Salzburg

The Moves

Vs81 Zell am See Krimml 0900 Zell am See – Krimml 3308
Vs82 Krimml Zell am See 1433 Krimml – Zell am See 3321
1144126 Zell am See Saalfelden 1709 Salzburg – Worgl 1512
470005 Saalfelden Zell am See 1745 Worgl – Salzburg 1515
Vs83 Schuttdorf Tischlerhausl Zell am See 1833 Krimml – Zell am See 3329
1144017 Zell am See Bruck Fusch 1837 Worgl – Schwarzach St Veit 5039
1144085 Bruck Fusch Zell am See 1910 Salzburg – Worgl 1514

 

Monday 16th September 2013

Having spent the majority of the day riding up mountains on cable cars to both KitzsteinhornSchmittenhöhe the late afternoon was then spent doing a rather brisk spin move north of Zell am See, which involved two plus threes and a plus seven. All of which made. What I hadn’t been expecting on Rex5027 1437 Wörgl – Schwarzach St Veit was 1144265; I hadn’t actually expected it to be hauled at all. It seems that all the trains prefixed Rex in the area are hauled, although I couldn’t find any reference to any in the available diagrams. Having then done 1144003 forward to St Johann im Pongau on IC591 1516 Villach – Salzburg we then watched 1144033 depart going back south with IC518 1337 Graz – Innsbruck. In fact we watched it depart twice, the guard stopping the first departure for a group of giggling girls who it then turned out didn’t actually want his train. It was at that point that I wish I could have understood his German as he wasn’t impressed at all, and made them aware of the fact! The same guard was stood waiting with his train for us though, as we arrived back into Schwarzach St Veit with DB 101057 on EC115 0631 Münster – Villach; the same train the group of giggling girls had actually wanted. It was booked to overtake 1144033 and its train, IC518, and connect into it as well, at Schwarzach St Veit; hence us watching it leave at St Johann im Pongau, although it had been risky as there were no display screens at all to confirm if it had been late or not so the move could have ended in tears had it not been to time.

Our long day was over back at Zell am See. We’d done as many different cable cars as trains, two buses, a considerable amount of walking both on and through mountains, and we were more than ready for a meal and relaxing evening. Not wanting to make the same mistake we had the previous day we opted for Ristorante Giuseppe, where we knew the food was good; and it was. Afterwards we thanked Martina in reception for all her help and I took the opportunity to pay the bill at the same time. It was a good job I had as well, as the reception wasn’t open the following morning when we actually departed. Then it was packing time……….

Gen for Monday 16th September 2013

See moves below for the gen

The Moves

1144265 Zell am See Schwarzach St Veit 1437 Worgl – Schwarzach St Veit 5027
1144003 Schwarzach St Veit St Johann im Pongau 1516 Villach – Salzburg IC591
101057 St Johann im Pongau Schwarzach St Veit 0631 Munster – Villach EC115
1144033 Schwarzach St Veit Zell am See 1337 Graz – Innsbruck IC518

 

Tuesday 17th September 2013 (Show me the way to go home….)

It’s always a chore going home, especially when you’ve had such a good time and don’t really want to leave; but hometime it was. After a quick breakfast, despite the breakfast room not actually being open, we bode farewell to the Hotel Feinschmeck for the last time and headed for the station. The local weather forecast that morning had warned of snow above 1500m and it was very evident on the surrounding mountains that it had already started to fall; it was as though someone had started painting at the top and was working their way down but got stuck at 1500m. An almost perfect white vale covered the mountain sides; confirming that Winter was on its way. It was damn unfortunate that we had to leave as a return to both Kitzsteinhorn & Schmittenhöhe would have been an excellent day out and very different to the previous days’ visits.

Our journey would be a simple one, Zell am See to Salzburg, Salzburg to Munich Ost, Munich Ost to the airport; or that’s how it should have been anyway. When 1144126 rolled in with 1503 0541 Wörgl – Salzburg, having stuck to diagram for three days, we were very welcome of the on board heating; it was quite a cold morning. Even though it was quite a miserable moning, weather wise, mountainous terrain can never be boring, and it wasn’t.

On arrival into Salzburg a lot of what the city has to offer can be seen, perched on vartious hillocks, overlooking the city below. We’d not had time to fit Salzburg into our plans but were quite impressed with what we’d seen both on the way in and as we departed for Germany on board DB train EC218 0554 Graz – Frankfurt with DB 101014 pushing on the rear. This could only mean we’d have to return and do what we hadn’t had time to in the first place…..

Having already booked the advance ticket from Zell am See to Munich Airport through DB’s website I then discovered a far better way of getting from Salzburg to Munich, which involved the only 218 turn that ran into Salzburg, the 1109 Salzburg – Landshunt, which connected nicely at Muhldorf into another 218 to Munich Ost for an EMU to the airport. The only problem with this move was the plus 1h20m for the flight, assuming everything had been on time. My experiences of 10 days previous in Germany hadn’t filled me with too much confidence either so while it was a move in the back of my mind, that’s exactly where it stayed, but could well prove to be the way into Salzburg next time we visit?

We alighted at Munich Ost as per plan, but that’s where the plan ended as 218405 arrived with 27046 1030 Muhldorf – Munich HB and we were en-route into Munich HB moments later. Unfortunately, rather than go into the bay platforms 5-10 at Munich HB it ran into platform 11, which meant we missed being able to do the cross platform leap to 111130 on the next Munich HB – Salzburg, back to Munich Ost. It was then an endurance in trying to find the S-bahn platforms, which for reference are downstairs and not very well signposted, to board the same train we would have at Munich Ost anyway, to the airport. Lines S1 & S8 both run to Munich Airport and both run via different routes and just to confused you even more they each runs through Munich HB S-bahn platforms in the opposite direction to the other; so in simple terms you can get from Munich HB to the airport  by boarding trains on either platform, which both go in different directions!

Munich airport is a breeze and the plus 1h20m, if we’d done the 218 move from Salzburg, would have allowed ample time; especially as we’d already checked in and downloaded our electronic boarding passes through Lufthansa’s app. The only downfall of the aiport is its lack of room for passengers to wait at the departure gates.

Even though our plane was late away, and we had to watch passengers board the adjacent Manchester & Birmingham departures, we into Heathrow only 30m late, through customs with ease, onto a tube within no time at all and at Kings Cross for our booked train to Doncaster with plenty of time to spare. The long journey home almost over………

Gen for Tuesday 17th September 2013

See moves below for the gen

The Moves

1144126 Zell am See Salzburg HB 0541 Worgl – Salzburg 1503
101014 Salzburg HB Munich Ost 0544 Graz – Frankfurt HB EC218
218405 Munich Ost Munich HB 1030 Muhldorf – Munich HB 27046
423155 Munich HB Low Level Munich Airport 1105 Herrsching – Munich Airport 6855
423363
D-AIDF Munich T2 Heathrow T1 1525 Munich – Heathrow LH2478
91109 Kings Cross Doncaster 1903 Kings Cross – Leeds 1D28

 

Summary

What an excellent country, the scenery, the people, the scenery, the people and did I mention the scenery? Even though it had been a bit of a washout in Vienna, the change of climate in Zell am See more than made up for it and would probably have still been ok even if it had been raining. It had actually been like being in two different worlds; maybe next time though we’d visit either mid Summer or mid Winter to avoid the “miserable” weather. We left Austria already looking forward to a return trip so it must have left a lasting impression on us both.

As the sole purpose railway-wise had been to get some 1099’s in on the Mariazellerbahn, the trip had achieved its purpose. However getting both 1099002, a 1911 built machine, and 2095015 in were both the icing on the cake as far as the Mariazellerbahn went. Yes we’d missed the better times where there’d been 3 x 2095 and 2 x 1099 out each day but when i began to plan the trip nobody actually knew if the 1099s would last until September 2013; so despite not having rafts of engines I was more than happy with what we had.

Even though our evening rush hour bash in the Vienna tunnels came at the expense of sightseeing in Vienna, courtesy of the heavy rain of course, it was an enjoyable 90 minutes, with so many loco-hauled trains to go at; it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

The Wachaubahn is probably best enjoyed on a warmer and sunnier day than it had been when we’d done it and the Breitenauerbahn is just a treat to behold with it’s tinpot toy train and bizarre electrics.

Zell am See really made the trip for me though it had the lot, a balance of normal things and the added bonus of being able to do quick spins at any point during the day really, and once I’d worked the diagrams out it became easier to know which trains you’d “need” to do and which you didn’t need to bother with. Even the day out to Krimml, via the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn, on the engines that made no noise was a decent bash; empty trains and a decent price. And to think most people we spoke to had suggested the bus; more fool them, surely the trains actually made less noise than the bus and offered far more comfortable seating?

Highlights of the trip:

1099002, 2095015, Breitenauerbahn, getting a Hungarian engine in (470005) and being able to collect window labels to my hearts content!

2 Comments

  1. Keith Mitchell
    Posted 22/10/2013 at 12:58 pm. Reply to this comment

    I have just read the above report together with the Swiss and German reports. Very good I love Germany and Austria particularly the Bayern area. As you say the trip from Salzburg via Muhldorf is a good alternative route I have used it on several occasions, although I haven’t managed to include the 218 n the “school train” as they call it on the Landshut-Salzburg roster. This has been 628s for me!! Its amazing how many 1144 turns there still are, with a number of 1216s now in use. If you are into TrainSimulator 2014 I run a facebook page “Train Simulator Deutchland Schweitz ” for any train sim pictures and information. I am going to Munich from 11th-18th December, so should visit Salzburg via Muhldorf of course! Especially after 15th December, when the Veolia FLIRT units take over!!

  2. Posted 25/10/2013 at 11:21 pm. Reply to this comment

    Yes, isn’t Austria wonderful? The Mariazellerbahn, in particular, I consider to be the best narrow-gauge railway journey that no-one’s ever heard of, with every type of scenery you can possibly imagine: flat table land, meadows and forests, the lovely gorge with road, rail and river in close proximity; the horseshoe curve above Laubenbachmühle; and the whole mountain section from Winterbach onwards. You didn’t comment on the noise and smoke effects from the 1099s – their oil-bath rectifiers heat up sufficiently on the trip uphill to lay down a pall of blue smoke! It is a shame that the 1099s are being (mainly) retired, but the modern tourist demands better facilities than the loco-hauled stock can offer, and the 1099 fleet has been kept going with ingenuity and cannibalisation for longer than anyone would imagine possible. Good grief, they were rebodied in the early 1960s, making their rebuild state ‘heritage traction’ in most people’s books!

    There are good eating places in Mariazell itself; otherwise, your best bet if you’re spending a day on the line (and timetables permitting) is to pop down the road at Ober Grafendorf to the local Billa supermarket and stock up on provisions…

    I could go on for ages about the country, but where to start? One other thing, though – you don’t mention whether you had a Taurus sing to you as it pulls away from the station. Of all the modern European locomotives, the Taurus (classes 1016, 1116 and 1216) (oh, OK then, Taurii) have, to my mind, the most character – even though they have become so ubiquitous that anything that isn’t a Taurus is sometimes described as ‘heritage traction’!

    The Austrians have a fascinating outlook on life, and things are sometimes done there in ways that us Brits are quite comfortable with. In particular, did you notice the ÖBB in-house magazines in the Railjet? When I travelled on one last December, I was tickled that they’d spent all that time and money on these super new trains, but the in-house magazine was STILL tied to the luggage rack with a piece of string! Traditions persist, even in the small things!

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