2043 034 pauses at Enns, 31/08/07 (JW)
Austria has ousted heritage diesel locos from its timetabled passenger services, but happily there are plenty of opportunities to travel behind such machines through 2017.
Austria is blessed with numerous regular main line heritage specials (along the same sort of format as the Jacobite or the Scarborough Spa Express) as well as planned heritage operations on private narrow gauge railways and railtours. Rather than go through these forthcoming works on a class-by-class basis, I will tackle them by route, giving a flavour of what is on offer. At the end of this article is a “simplifier” which will help you plan a trip in order to travel on as many of these that appeal as possible.
There are two routes that will regularly see ex-ÖBB (Österreichische Bundesbahnen; Austrian Federal Railways) standard gauge diesel-hydraulic power throughout the summer. Both are located to the immediate north-west of the country’s capital, Wien (Vienna).
The first lends itself very nicely to a relaxed day trip from Wien, and that is the “Nostalgieexpress Leiser Berge”, operated by Regiobahn. This departs every Saturday from Wien Praterstern station at 09:14 and runs up the main line to Korneuberg before branching off up the normally-freight-only route to Ernstbrunn, for six hours there before returning at 16:45. This is planned to be hauled by an ex-ÖBB class 2143 loco no.2143 062 of Regiobahn, which they have recently repainted into their blue livery. More info on Regiobahn’s site here.
A link to a YouTube video by Mariazellerbahn1099 of a pair of 2143s in action – these diesel-hydraulics have lost all of their service train work now, but there are a large number of workings advertised to use them throughout the Summer.
Another working currently in the hands of a 2143 is the “Reblaus-Express”, which runs from Retz up the branch to Drosendorf and back, in the north of the country. Three round trips are made each Saturday, Sunday and public holiday between April and October; the motive power being a NÖVOG example – at the moment, 2143 009 appears to be in charge. However, this has also been known to have been worked by a visually similar class 2043, a type supplied to ÖBB from Jenbacher (as opposed to Simmering-Graz-Pauker as with the 2143s) in the 1960s and 1970s.
In theory – obviously only on the days that both run – both the “Nostalgieexpress Leiser Berge” and the “Reblaus-Express” can be covered easily together, still as a (slightly longer) day trip from Wien if you so wish, or as an interesting way to get from Wien to the Czech Republic. The 2143 can be caught from Wien Praterstern to Korneuburg (arrive 09:43), going forward after a bit of a wait on the 11:20 regional express to Retz (arrive 12:12), from where the “Reblaus-Express” can be taken to Drosendorf and back at 13:30, arriving back at Retz at 16:05 – sadly too late to get back to Korneuburg have the Ernstbrunn train back into the capital, but it does connect nicely onto a regional train across the border into the Czech Republic should you be moving on there.
ÖBB can be considered to have had two predominant types of 760mm narrow-gauge diesel loco – the diesel-electric class 2091, and the diesel-hydraulic class 2095. Most examples of both types still exist.
The centre-cab class 2091s are pre-war 1-Bo-1 machines (built 1936-38). 12 were built, of which 9 remain extant, 5 of which are operational – although 2 of them are now in Germany.
|2091.04||Wälderbähnle||Stored – Christmas tree|
|2091.10||Döllnitzbahn, Germany – now “199 030”||Operational|
|2091.12||Döllnitzbahn, Germany – now “199 031”||Operational|
The 2095s are 600hp diesel-hydraulics dating from 1958-62 and of the 15 built, only 2 have been scrapped (following the same accident in 2005) – although a further pair have been exported to Romania.
|2095.01||Pinzgauer Lokalbahn – as Vs71||Operational|
|2095.04||Pinzgauer Lokalbahn – as Vs72||Operational|
|2095.05||Waldviertelbahn – as V5||Operational|
|2095.06||Pinzgauer Lokalbahn – as Vs73||Operational|
|2095.07||Waldviertelbahn – as V7||Stored at Gmünd NÖ|
|2095.08||Pinzgauer Lokalbahn – as Vs74||Operational|
|2095.09||Mariazellerbahn – as V9||Operational|
|2095.10||Mariazellerbahn – as V10||Operational|
|2095.11||SC Calea Ferata Îngustă, Crişcior, Romania||Operational|
|2095.12||Waldviertelbahn – as V12||Operational|
|2095.14||SC Calea Ferata Îngustă, Crişcior, Romania||Operational|
|2095.15||Mariazellerbahn – as V15||Operational|
A railway that has one operational example of each is the Wälderbähnle, situated in the mountains above Bregenz, in the far west of Austria near to the borders with Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It is a 3-mile line from Schwarzenberg to Bezau, the top end of a branch line which formerly ran through to Bregenz. It is not linked to the national network, public transport access from the nearest railway being via the number 40 bus from Dornbirn, which takes about 45 minutes to reach Bezau. The railway’s operational diesel fleet consists of 2091.08 and 2095.13, and there are fairly frequent diesel running days, albeit not to much of a pattern. Details of these available in the table at the foot of this page, or in the Haulage Calendar.
Another operation that has examples of both class 2091 and 2095 is the Waldviertelbahn, which centres on Gmünd NÖ, a town near the Czech border which is on the main line from Wien to České Budějovice. Their operational 2095 stable consists of 2095.05 and 2095.12 (with 2095.07 stored) and these are frequently out through the summer either heading south from Gmünd NÖ to Groß Gerungs or north to Litschau (the Groß Gerungs route passes beneath the standard gauge so they are not two self-contained networks). Their 2091 fleet consists of 2091.02 and 2091.09 (with 2091.07 as a source of spares), and they use 2091 power on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays through high Summer from Alt Nagelberg to Heidenreichstein. If you visit on a day that the Litschau service is 2095-hauled, then this connects into the 2091 at Alt Nagelberg; albeit on the return from Litschau (good if you want to do the track, but not so helpful if you just want to travel behind the locos in as short a time as possible!). Again, details below or in the Haulage Calendar.
The Pinzgauer Lokalbahn uses modern diesel loco power (of the Gmeinder “class 2096” design) on some service trains, however heritage interest is provided on Saturday 09/09/17 when 2095.01 will haul a return trip from Zell am See to Krimml. More details here.
A link to a YouTube video uploaded by niko1266 of 2095.01 – you can sample this 760mm machine on Saturday 09/09/17 on a special Zell am See to Krimml return.
The Ybbstalbahn also sees planned diesel haulage between Kienberg-Gaming and Göstling an der Ybbs on the last weekend of each month through the Summer, usually with the tiny 2190.01, one of a three pre-war ex-ÖBB diesel-electrics.
Earlier in the article I referred to two 2091s that can now be found in Germany – on the Döllnitzbahn, situated roughly midway between Leipzig and Dresden. Both 2091.10 (now “199 030”) and 2091.12 (now “199 031”) are operational and have regular workings on the Döllnitzbahn’s timetabled passenger trains.
199 030 (ex 2091.10) waiting time at Oschatz Südbahnhof, 27/05/13 (JW)
These run daily throughout the summer and consist of a number of round trips from Mügeln to Oschatz, which forms a junction with the main line. Here is a link to their timetable. Only one loco is needed to work the entire service. The railway advertise when this is a steam loco (usually at weekends), but the standard traction is the two 2091s.
On the standard gauge, recent years have seen ex-ÖBB class 2143 haulage on service trains in southern Germany, for Alex between Immenstadt and Oberstdorf taking portions off trains from München to Lindau down the branch. These are from the Staudenbahn stable, with blue 2143.18 and orange 2143.21 having worked since 2009; just 2143.18 holding the fort for the last few years. However, it was dragged away from Kempten in mid-March for works attention and has yet to be reported back.
2143.18 at Oberstdorf on an ALEX portion to Immenstadt, 18/06/10 (JW)
Other diesel haulage in Austria
ÖBB’s standard diesel loco type is now the Siemens Eurorunner class 2016 type, known on ÖBB as “Hercules”, a 100-strong fleet dating from 2002-04. There are plenty of diagrams for these on service trains across Austria – from routes around Klagenfurt in the south (e.g. on the branch to Wolfsberg and a turn along the main line to Villach); around Graz in the south-east (e.g. to Szentgotthard, Spielfeld Strass and Bad Radkersberg); further north around Wien (e.g. to Bratislava, Sopron, and around St Pölten); and in the north near the German border (e.g. to Braunau am Inn and Simbach, from both Linz and Salzburg).
Mention of Salzburg is also a good opportunity to record that a class 2068 shunter frequently works on a portion shunt at Salzburg Hbf in the early hours. The Budapest portion is shunted off EN40463 23:35 München Hbf to Venezia Santa Lucia; although this has also been reported with a class 1163 electric shunter.
More nocturnal class 2068 action is available at Villach Hbf, as a portion from EN40295 20:10 München Hbf to Milano Centrale is shunted onto EN233 19:23 Wien Hbf to Milano Centrale.
Privately-owned standard gauge diesel haulage is provided in the Graz area by the Graz-Köflacher Bahn, who use a fleet of class 2015 centre cab diesels on some peak hour push-pull commuter services on their branches to Wies-Eibiswald and Köflach.
Other diesel haulage on offer in the Graz area is on the Feistritztalbahn, which operates from Weiz to Birkfeld. This is a 760mm heritage branch north-east of Graz – which meets the national network Weiz. On Wednesdays and Thursdays from 05/07/17 to 14/09/17, two round trips from Birkfeld to Weiz are booked to be hauled by a diesel loco. Based on last year’s experience, the weapon of choice is likely to be Steiermärkischen Landesbahnen (StLB) VL12, a centre-cab machine built by ÖMAG in the mid-1960s and more recently re-engined with an MTU power unit. The moves available on this are not great – as both round trips begin “up the branch” – and a visit to the Feistritztalbahn by rail will take all day, with 12:00 Weiz to Birkfeld and 16:00 return.
Another Austrian 760mm railway that sees diesel locomotive operation is the Zillertalbahn, a 20-mile route which stretches from a junction with the Westbahn cross-country main line at Jenbach along the valley of the Ziller river to its terminus at Mayrhofen. (Buses do run from here to Krimml). As well as one round trip hauled by a steam loco in summer months, there are five diagrams which are generally shared between the railway’s fleet of DMUs and a fleet of four modern Gmeinder “class 2096s“, D13-D16.
I should also mention the Liliputbahn im Prater, a rather “esoteric” 15 inch gauge railway within the grounds of the Wiener Prater, a large park in the north of Wien near to Praterstern station. This railway runs from March to October, on a 4km circular route, and has two steam locos and four rather bizarre diesels. Two are in use each day with a steam loco at weekends. On the other side of the River Danube is its sister railway, the Donauparkbahn, another 15 inch outfit, with a diesel-only fleet of three equally unusual machines.
Ex-ÖBB diesel working simplifier – Summer 2017
|Retz 2043||Ernstbrunn 2143||Groß Gerungs 2095||Litschau 2095||H’stein 2091||Bezau|
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