Most European capital cities are good for loco haulage between a number of urban stations in close proximity to each other, and the Austrian capital of Wien (Vienna) is no exception.
The route that this article focuses on is the Stammstrecke, the trunk line that stretches largely beneath the city’s feet on a north-south axis. It covers 10 stations in just over 8 miles – from north to south, these are Wien Floridsdorf, Wien Handelskai, Wien Traisengasse, Wien Praterstern, Wien Mitte, Wien Rennweg, Wien Quartier Belvedere, Wien Hbf, Wien Matzleinsdorfer Platz and Wien Meidling.
Although I’ve spent quite a lot of time on this route, I don’t appear to have any photos worthy of sharing! – a mixture of being on “fast” leaps and most stations being dingy underground affairs. Here is 1144 243 at Wels, then – a loco I last saw working through Wien in October 2019 – 12 years prior to that, on 31/08/07 (JW)
The route is used both by the S-Bahn – which uses class 4746 “Cityjet” EMUs – and also by longer-distance regional services, which as a general (but not infallible) rule of thumb are formed of push-pull sets powered by electric locomotives. Wien Mitte is also served by the City Airport Train (CAT), and the private operator Westbahn also features with a number of through trains to Salzburg (all EMUs) – although the latter will temporary withdraw from the route at the December 2019 timetable change while it goes through a fleet renewal. In general, with the exception of the CAT at Rennweg, all trains stop at all stations through which they pass.
The locos concerned are all electrics: class 1016 and 1116 “Tauri” and class 1144 “Howling Gales” – roughly 30 different machines in a day, the split of which is generally in the region of 10 : 20. As these machines are equally at home on long-distance workings and are generally drawn from common pools, this gives a good opportunity to get them in on “scratch leaps”. Obviously, this is not the only route in Wien, and plenty more locos can be hoovered up in and out of the ‘upstairs’ platforms at Wien Hbf, as well as out of Wien Westbahnhof and Wien Franz Josefs Bf too.
Diagrams can be found in the files section of the European Rail Gen gen group. As ever, please note the etiquette that if you benefit from the gen, please pay the favour back by posting your sightings back to the group.
Other railway-related things to see and do
Just a short work from Praterstern station, in the Prater park, is the Liliputbahn 15 inch gauge railway which is well worth half an hour of your time.
Ex-ÖBB shunter 2060 009 is plinthed at Stammersdorf, a 13-minute tram ride from Wien Floridsdorf station.
Ticketing and Practicals
Obviously, as bonafide mainline passenger trains, Interrail rovers and FIP are valid on the ÖBB services.
However, there is also local rover ticket which covers the loco haulage through Wien’s central core. The local transport organisation Wiener Linien offer 24 hour, 48 hour, 72 hour, weekly and monthly rovers which offer good value and cover all public transport in the Wien city area (boundaries listed here); at €8.00 for 24 hours, this clearly makes it much better value than ‘blowing up’ a full day’s rover for some local travel.