Pinzgauer Lokalbahn reconstruction starts

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pinzgauer_lokalbahn

Newly relaid section of line. Note earthworks on left.
Photo Pinzgauer Lokalbahn.

(Click photo the go to the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn website.)

The Pinzgauer Lokalbahn is a 53 km long 760mm gauge narrow-gauge railway in the Austrian province of Salzburg. The line connects Zell am Zee on the Salzburg Tiroler Bahn with the town of Krimml. Formerley part of the ÖBB system, the line has now been transferred to the State of Salzburg who have appointed their own regional railway company as the railway’s new operator.

In July 2005, the line has suffered major flood damage and many embankments were washed out. The section between Mittersill – Krimml is now being rebuilt and realigned so as to be better able to withstand flood damage in the future. Freight services – consisting of standard gauge box trucks carried on transporter wagons – were suspended by ÖBB in 1998, but were resumed in November 2008.

The civil engineering works are being funded by the State of Salzburg and the Austrian Ministry of Transport. If only a similar plan could be adopted for Poland’s narrow gauge railways!

bridge

Not the Welsh Highland Railway!
Photo Pinzgauer Lokalbahn.

(Click photo to go to the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn railway reconstruction gallery.)

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3 Responses to “Pinzgauer Lokalbahn reconstruction starts”

  1. Geoff Jenkins Says:

    Whilst this is good news it should not be thought that the same enlightened attitude applies throughout Austria. The Ybbstalbahn has been facing the threat of closure for some time. OBB seems to want to divest itself of the narrow gauge lines that it is responsible for. Heavy rainfall caused damage to the railway during June and as a consequence trains are not operating on most of the line.

    During a visit during early September there was no sign of any repair work taking place. A local newspaper seemed to suggest that the options were either for the takeover of the line by a private operator or a local authority scheme to handover part of the line to the preservation group that already run the far end of the railway, turn part of the middle of it into a cycle track and keep the route from Waidhofen to Grosshollenstein in operation.

    However, later newspaper articles paint a gloomier picture with talk of the majority of the railway being turned into a cycle track and the line’s public transport function, apart from about 6 km at Waidhofen, being taken over by buses, which would be cheaper, more convenient and faster than the ramshackle trains.

    Supporters of the Ybbstalbahn have pointed out what is happening at the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn and suggested that a similar course of action should be followed. However, some local politicians say that the curtcumstances are different and that closing the Ybbstalbahn and providing a replacement bus service is the way to go. It’s not only Poland where narrow gauge lines are facing an uncertain future.

    • dyspozytor Says:

      Hi Geoff. Let’s have a couple of your excellent pictures and a few more details and and I’ll publish your report as a main article on BTWT.

  2. Geoff Jenkins Says:

    I can find a few photographs but cannot claim to know a great deal about the Ybbstalbahn or Austrian narrow gauge in general. Whilst the countryside that many of the lines run through is often very scenic and the railway infrastructure can be impressive, for some reason, I’ve never had a great interest in the Austrian narrow gauge lines.

    Perhaps it is because I grew up reading about British lines that had been short of money, struggling with worn out equipment or facing closure from their standard gauge owners. To me, a proper narrow gauge railway is expected to look as though it is working hard to survive. Somehow, pristine, superbly maintained, modern, corporate liveried trains and stations just don’t fit into my vision of classic narrow gauge.

    In recent years, I have been persuaded, with some difficultly, that that the Austrian narrow gauge lines are worth a look. However, I still look at it as a place to drop into for a few days on the way to or from somewhere more interesting. My knowledge of the railways, their history and the equipment that they use remains sketchy, to say the least, and I find it very hard to motivate myself to do anything about it. Our interludes in Austria have been enjoyable but I fear that I am never going to become fanatical about the railways. Austria does provide an interesting contrast with the run down Polish lines and may help to give an indication of what some of the narrow gauge railways of Eastern Europe looked like in their heyday. However, if you are looking for someone with a passion about and knowledge of Austrian railways to write about them, please look elsewhere. I’m sure that there are many people out there who are better placed to give the Ybbstalbahn the coverage that it deserves.

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