Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Semmering, Breitenstein, Graz

I'm on my 7th day during this Europe trip, and I'm in Austria, Linz. 
 The view from my hotel in the morning. Outside train station, there is stop for Flixbus - one of the largest bus companies in Europe, competing with trains.
 Linz station
 New Stadler Kiss EMU from open access operator Westbahn
 One of the differences between the new and old EMU is the single-blade door. Here is a photo of the old EMU.
 ICE-T train from Vienna to Frankfurt
 ICE-T trains have been used in Austria since 2006

 ÖBB 5022 (Siemens Desiro) DMU for REX service to St.Nikola-Struden
 Railway nr 101 Westbahn is part of TEN-T line 17 (Paris-Bratislava/Budapest) also named Magistrale für Europa / Magistrale européenne.

 Siemens ES64U2 "Taurus"or ÖBB Class 1116 to the right and Bombardier Talent EMU to the left
 "Taurus" is one of most common locomotives in Austria, there are 282 pieces of Class 1116 (for 15kV 16.7Hz and 25kV 50Hz) and 50 pieces of Class 1016 (15kV 16.7Hz)

 Railjet is a high speed train brand in Austria with maximum speed of 230km/h. This will be my first train for today from Linz to Vienna Meidling

 The railway capacity on this line has been increased by building additional 2 tracks forming Neue Westbahn which allows speeds of 250km/h (achieved by Railjet and ICE trains).

 St. Valentin station and two Siemens trains, Desiro ML EMU to the left and Desiro Classic DMU to the right.

 Restaurant coach

 Siemens Vectron
 ÖBB Class 1144 at Amstetten
 Sittenbergtunnel (4692 m). This part of the New Westbahn railway was completed in 2015.
 Maria Taferl
 Melk Abbey

 Schloss Schallaburg
 ÖBB Class 5047 DMU near St.Pölten
Travelling inside Lainzer Tunnel (12,8 km)
 Arriving to Wien Meidling
 I had only some minutes to change trains here, so I was a bit worried to miss my connection, as the train got a delay during the trip from Linz. But, it arrived on time to Vienna, which is very impressive.
 My next train will take me to Semmering
 Railjet trains are hauled by "Taurus" locomotives
 My next train with "Taurus" locomotive livery ""150 Jahre Brennerbahn"

 Former Bahnhof Atzgersdorf-Mauer

 Wiener Neustadt
 It seems that English is a very difficult language in many European countries. I was going to order a cherry almond cake on board but the girl in the restaurant was unable to understand me, so I had to say "kirsch mandel kuchen".
 2nd class coach Bmpz
 1st class coach Ampz. The coaches are built by Siemens and branded as "Viaggio Comfort". Typical train configuration consists of 7 coaches (5 2nd class, 1 restaurant, 1 1st class) and to increase the capacity, two train units can be connected to a 14-car train with two locomotives.
Restaruant coach ARbmpz.
We are now travelling along Südbahn, which was originally built by the Austrian Southern Railway company and ran to Ljubljana and Trieste, the main seaport of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Here is Klamm-Schottwien Bahnhof
From Gloggnitz, the railway is elevating through Eastern Alps. Due to many curves, the maximum speed on this part is about 60-80km/h. A new project called "Semmering Base Tunnel" will save 30min and will allow a speed of 250km/h. It is expected to be completed in 2026.
On the other hand, this part of Südbahn which is called Semmeringbahn is one of the most beautiful railways and it is considered as world's first true mountain railway. It was constructed between 1848 and 1854 and it features 14 tunnels, 16 viaducts (several two-story) and over 100 curved stone bridges as well as 11 small iron bridges.
In 1998 the Semmering railway was added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. One of most famous viaduct is Kalte-Rinne Viaduct which I'm about to visit.
Adlitzgraben Viaduct
Getting off at Semmering station
The monument of Carl Ritter von Ghega who constructed the railway and ÖBB 5144 DMU from 1938 (modernised in 1951).
Railjet continues to Graz
Semmering-Tunnel, 1512m long
Inside the station there is an exhibition about the railway

The line is used both by passenger and freight trains
ÖBB Class 1116 or Siemens ES64U2 locomotive

Another Railjet (this one not stopping at Semmering)

Railjet from Graz. The train is a push - pull configured, so the locomotive is at the back of the train in this case.
There are 67 Railjet train sets, 60 belongs to ÖBB, 7 belongs to České dráhy. The locomotive is a Class 1216 or Siemens ES64U4. To the right is ÖBB 4020 EMU which I'm going to take now.

Inside ÖBB 4020
Before departure, a freight train is passing, here with ÖBB 1144 and 1116.
The main benefit of the new Semmering Base Tunnel will be increased ease of use for freight traffic. Currently, the route gradients require the use of two locomotives; the reduced gradient of the new link will enable the transit of freight traffic using just one locomotive.
Kartnerkogel tunnel (201.16 m)
Wolfsbergkogel Bahnhof and Kurhaus Semmering

Wolfsberg Tunnel (439.53 m)
Wächterhaus WH 172. The railway line, built between 1848 and 1854, was accompanied by a total of 55 guard houses, of which 47 are still preserved. The guard houses are largely owned by the Austrian Federal Railways and are also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Semmeringbahn.

Weberkogel Tunnel (406.91 m)

Wächterhaus WH 170
Approaching Adlitzgraben Viaduct (L: 151 m, H: 24 m)

Kalte-Rinne Viaduct (L: 184 m, H: 46 m)
Small Krausel Tunnel (13.82 m)

To visit Kalte-Rinne Viaduct I have to get off at Breitenstein and walk about 2km
The train continues to Payerbach-Reichenau Bahnhof

Krausel-Klause Viaduct (L: 87 m, H: 36 m)
Kalte-Rinne Viaduct (L: 184 m, H: 46 m)
"The mighty two-tiered viaduct across the Kalte Rinne is considered the Semmering Railway’s highest and most impressive. To this day it is one of the railway line’s most photographed structures. The Kalte Rinne is regarded as an example of a successful symbiosis of engineering, architecture and nature. It is also a tribute to the impressive engineering skills of Carl von Ghega, the project’s designer and director."

I'm back at Breitenstein
ÖBB Class 1144 and 1116

I'm heading back to Semmering, passing for the third time over same viaducts

The train continues to Mürzzuschlag

My next train is another Railjet

Time for lunch, spinach pasta with ham.
Railjet has something called Business class, it looks like this
Marein-St.Lorenzen Bahnhof

Bruck an der Mur

Service vehicle ÖBB X552

Burg Rabenstein
Mur river
Two Siemens ES64U2-068 and ES64U2-020 from MRCE Dispolok GmbH

Final destination - Graz. Besides the Semmering Base Tunnel project which will increase the capacity and reduce travel time, there is another project underway - Koralmbahn which will link Graz with Klagenfurt.
Stadler GTW operated by Steiermärkische Landesbahnen (STLB)
The train is used for service to Weiz
My hotel is just next to the station
Current station is built in the 1950s. The previous one was destroyed during WW2.
New tram tunnel and station located near the train station in Graz, opened in 2012.

Bombardier Cityrunner tram

Stadler Variobahn tram

Grazer Uhrturm
The view from Schloßberg

Graz is the second largest city in Austria


Graz Town Hall


Main hall at the train station after reconstruction 2001-2003
"On the occasion of the cultural capital year 2003, Peter Kogler designed a large-scale art installation for the main hall. The interior walls were lined with a 2355 square meter, textile plastic panel with printed, geometric figures. The installation was to be removed after the main cultural year, but the installation was preserved due to positive reactions from the population and the station users."

Stadler GTW operated by Graz-Köflacher Bahn and Busbetrieb GmbH (GKB)
The train has destination Wies-Eibiswald
ÖBB Class 1142. In Sweden this locomotive is used by Hectorrail, here spotted at Långsele in 2016.
Siemens Desiro ML service to Spielfeld-Straß
Double deck coaches for GKB railway, these were the first double deck coaches in Austria, manufacture in 1993 by Simmering-Graz-Pauker.
Siemens Desiro Classic (to the left) and Desiro ML (to the right)
ÖBB Class 1142. Here's one from Hectorrail photographed in Långsele last year.
ÖBB Class 1144 with Eurocity train from Zurich, it is the train I will take tomorrow in the other direction.
The train has a panorama coach (which I will use).

Eurocity train to Zagreb

The new passenger tunnels to the platforms in the late 1990s were awarded the Brunel Award for their functional design and served as a prototype for similar conversions in other stations.


  1. Where exactly is the UNESCO plaque at Semmering Station?

  2. Thank you. Do I have enough time to get off the train just to take a picture of that and getting back to the same train or should I take another train? How long the train stops there?

    1. Yes, I guess so. You have to check which coach is the right one. When I check at google maps the Unesco plaque should be about 65m measuring from the south end of the platform, that would mean that for example if you take Railjet 559 you have to be in coach 23 (or the 3rd coach from the front of the train). Please check the train composition at the link below:


      According to the timetable, the Railjet 559 has only 1 min stop at Semmering, so there is not much time for taking pictures :-)

      During the peak hours the Railjet services stops at Semmering every hour, so if you have time to wait, maybe it's a good idea to take another train. There are also local trains. Check the route planner for the timetables to/from Semmering: http://fahrplan.oebb.at/bin/query.exe/en?

  3. Thank you for the information. Best regards from Mexico City.