The Mariazell Railway - 1
The Mariazell Railway is a local narrow gauge track railroad between the towns of St. Poelten and Mariazell. In 1988 the line extension between Mariazell and Gusswerk was terminated.

For geographical orientation click on the map symbol left below the navigation buttons. From St. Poelten to Laubenbachmuehle the line track is rather flat.

But a very interesting mountain ramp starts close behind the station of Laubenbachmuehle and reaches its highest elevation in a top tunnel at 892 meters above sea on its way to Mariazell.

In Ober Grafendorf also a narrow gauge branch line with terminal station in Wieselburg starts.

was one objective when planning this presentation!

The Mariazell Railway is a 760 mm track line powered by electric energy using 6,5 kV and 25 Hz. Daily operation is performed by class 1099 locos and since a few years also electric railcars class 4090 and petrol powered ones class 5090. Some petrol fueled locos class 2095 are in use too.

This line presentation consists of 7 parts:
Part 1 and Part 2 will give impressions of the uphill drive from St. Poelten to Mariazell.
Part 3
and Part 4 change direction and guide you back from Mariazell home to St. Poelten.
Part 5
collects additional impressions from and around the line and Part 6 is dedicated to steam operated special events. Part 7 finally gives impressions of winter operation.

Many highlights of the Mariazell railroad are located rather out of the way and access requires good map material and local spatial experience. Therefore this presentation shall also enable easy virtual access to many of them.

All photographs were taken in August 2003, except otherwise marked. - I wish you a lot of fun! - and of course feedback of site visitors welcome!

  Early morning in St. Poelten main station. Platform 23 and 24 are type narrow gauge. Here the Mariazell Railroad starts. At the right train 6843 is ready for departure. Left train 6804 arrived here a few minutes ago. It will now be pushed back for 2 km to Alpenbahnhof which is the operational center of the Mariazell railway.  

This scenario happened a few minutes before the last image was shot. Train 6843 is pushed to the head station from Alpenbahnhof with last carriage in front. Two small tunnels have to be passed, the second one on the image is the small Eisberg tunnel which is about 600 m away from the platforms.

Click on images to get enlarged presentation!
  Train 6843 departs at 7:25 am from St. Poelten main station and scheduled it will be in Mariazell at 9:51. All other platforms visible belong to the standard gauge system. The main line is the Westbahn between Vienna and Salzburg. Another 3 standard gauge branch lines also start from here.
(top of page).
  After about 2 km the line passes St. Poelten Alpenbahnhof. Right the station building, then a freight track and two driving tracks. The rest are tracks for train preparation, a loco house and in the background some servicing units.  
  After a few kilometers the line passes Nadelbach. Because of the close distance to St. Poelten, there is no station. This is train 6845, called the colorful train, because of the special painting of the carriages.  
  After about 6 km trains arrive at the Schwadorf station. In the background the junction with the highway A1 between Vienna and Salzburg is visible. A class 5090 railcar stops.
(top of page).
  The line now enters some hilly countryside. It interrupts the straight track construction for some few kilometers. The train is passing the Matzersdorfer bridge. In the background the mountains are visible, which are line destination after about 85 km (~53 miles).  

Just a close distance later this image was shot. The composition consists of a motor unit 4090, a steering unit 6090 and a middle coach 7090.

Another train consisting of 2x4090 and 2x7090 was not in operation during my 2003 photo shootings.

  When arriving at the Pielach valley after about 10 km, the line again continues very straight. An old stile telegraph line which is still in operation, is running adjacently to the rail track.
(top of page)
  At line kilometer 12 the Ober Grafendorf station gets approached. Here the branch line to Wieselburg starts. In the middle a special train of a Mariazell railroad fan club and left the railcar to Wieselburg is visible. On the main line 1099 locos are in twin operation from 8 carriages upwards.  
  Guided by the Pielach river the line continues, passing the Kammerhof station after about 18 km. Countryside starts getting hilly again.  
  Behind the Hofstetten Gruenau station the line enters some few kilometers of newly constructed rail track. Danger zones of two highway junctions were terminated with this new construction in 1998. Image with train on the new construction. (top of page).  
  Muehlbach creek is passed close before the Rabenstein station. Countryside gets more and more hilly again.  
  A similar image like the one before. But here the bridge crosses the Pielach river itself. Close behind the bridge the rail track also crosses the highway. From here the line will continue at the right river side for the next 13 kilometers.  

Immediately behind the highway junction the Steinklamm station is approached. In the background the red traffic lights are still visible.

Sometimes there is some oil dust visible at 1099 roofs. It is produced when the vacuum pump is working.
(top of page).

  The unmanned Steinschal-Tradigist station is passed after about 29 km. Closely later this location is crossed. If one would move the camera to the right hillside, the towerless St. Andrew church would be visible.  
  At line distance 31 (km) the rail track reaches the Kirchberg station. By 1898 the line ended here. The section to Laubenbachmuehle was ready by 1905 and the whole line to Mariazell and Gusswerk by 1907.  
  The line now will pass the Loich station in a few moments. We can recognize the telegraph line again and we can also recognize, that the catenary poles beside the loco supply line also are used for other energy distribution circuits. This fact is a holdover from the early days, but still in use in some sections. (top of page).  
  The Loich station located at line distance 35 km is used for scheduled train crossings. For that purpose, the station has automated points equipment. On the image the crossing between train 6843 and the railcar train 6808. Pick-a-back transportation of standard gauge wagons on narrow gauge vehicles was possible till here. The further line has too narrow tunnels for that kind of operation.  
  Starting at km 38 a very interesting line section follows. But it is tough to produce good shots from this part, because of the very narrow general situation. The valley only gives space for the rail track, the drive way and the Pielach river. On the photograph visible is the fan club train at the beginning of this section.  

This is something like a standard location for picture taking along the line. After the Weissenbach tunnel the Schwarzenbach station follows up. Close behind this station the Schoenau tunnel is passed. A class 4090 train exits this tunnel and passes the Pielach river the last time on this run. From here on the line follows the branching Nattersbach valley. (top of page).

  When continuing the Nattersbach valley, the Frankenfels station is passed at km 43 and after 4 more km the Boding station. Then the line crosses the river and reaches the Laubenbach station at km 48. This is the end of the valley line. The driver of this train already has view to the station area.  

The colorful train has approached Laubenbachmuehle. Here crossing with train 6840 from Mariazell is scheduled. All station points are already switched to the correct crossing position. After passing of train 6840, only points 53 at the south east end of the station needs to be switched by a pointsman. He will proceed there by bicycle…

Next consecutive images at Part 2

Navigation: Rail world select - Mariazell Line: Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7
Last Update: December 2004 - send me an email
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