The Mariazell Railroad - 6

The sixth and last gallery regarding the Mariazell railway is dedicated to steam operated trains. Today one may meet steam trains several times a year.

They are on tour either due to special events and anniversaries, but also on a regular basis. In 2003 about 13 steam journeys distributed over the year were scheduled.

Many photographs of this gallery were taken before the steam locomotive Mh.6 was reconstructed to its

actual shape. Restoration works happened between 1990 and 1993.

On some images the steam loco 399.02 is visible. This engine came to the Mariazell line from Gmuend at the Austrian wood quarter. Several special event trains were running at that time operated by this engine.

Later the 399.06 was transferred as a permanent steam locomotive to the Mariazell railroad.
In 1908 this engine was produced for the Mariazell line and at that time named Mh.6.
"M" stands for Mariazell, "h" is an indication for a hot steam type and "6" is the unit number. The photo above shows the Mh.6 before reconstruction.

This line presentation totally has 7 parts:
Part 1
and Part 2 give impressions of the uphill drive from St. Poelten to Mariazell.
Part 3
and Part 4 change direction and guide back from Mariazell home to St. Poelten.
Part 5 collects additional impressions from and around the line and this part 6 deals with steam trains. Part 7 finally gives impressions of winter operation.

Most photographs taken at the end of the 80 s in last century.
I wish you a lot of fun! - and of course feedback of site visitors welcome!


St. Poelten main station. At platform 24 a special train headed by the steam locomotive Mh.6 is ready for departure. September 7th is one of about 13 regular steam operation days in 2003. The train runs instead of 6859. Some Japanese camera team produced video shots from this run.

Click on images to get enlarged presentation!
  Taking pictures of steam locomotives always includes potential surprise. In advance one often don't know in which direction the trail of smoke will move. Sometimes a good looking perspective may totally get disturbed by smoke. Here this didn't happen and the steam exhaust lets view open to the carriages (9/2003).  
  All necessary shunting jobs in order to finally compose the mentioned train were executed by the Mh.6 crew at the Alpenbahnhof area. (top of page)  
  A special train which was in operation in 1989 when the anniversary "100 years narrow gauge railroads in Austria" was celebrated, crosses the Pielach river on its way to Ober Grafendorf.  
  Here a train runs on the straight line section, which follows up the Pielach bridge in the background. Behind the loco, a generator car is clutched. It is needed for power supply especially of the dining and bar carriage. (9/2003)  
  A day in August 1990. The 85 years anniversary of the line to Mank and Ruprechtshofen is celebrated. Someone put special decoration on the boiler door. Everything seems to be okay for machinist and stoker. At Ober Grafendorf they friendly smile for the photographers ... (top of page)  
  Three different generations of Mariazell line vehicles meet at the Ober Grafendorf station in summer 1996. Left the 1099.001 from 1911, then a railcar 4090.003 from 1994 and finally at the right the Mh.6 from 1908.  
  After departure of the 4090 driven regular train, this unusual composition got clutched. The train consists of two parts. The 4 brown cars in the front arrived with the Mh.6, the others with the 1099.001. Now everything was clutched together (~13 cars) and Mh and 1099 worked as tandem.  
  From some hill behind the Ober Grafendorf area, a good line overview is possible. Here the trail of smoke is not totally ideal for the photographer (9/2003). (top of page)  

In 1988 a special train hauled by 399.02 is on tour to Mariazell. As indicated by the four station tracks, the Kirchbach station is passed. All stations are equipped for train crossings from the rail track layout. But just few are manned and really foreseen for crossings.


The same train at the Loich station which is next after Kirchberg. Due to fine contrast conditions, details of the loco body are visible clearly. A bit cloudy weather conditions may be positive for photo results, because too high contrasts are prevented.

Especially slide film is limited to a 5 stop range of aperture. Contrasts equivalent more than 5 stops may not be reproduced correctly.

  After a steam train passed, always some typical smell is distributed. This smell also will cover this location after the train has passed. Mh.6 and train illuminated by morning sun light passes on its way to Mariazell. (top of page)  

The 399 under full steam.

The machine's maximum speed is about 40 km/h (25 mph). Driving like this, the rod mechanics of the traction unit produces some typical noise ...

  At the lowland valley section the rail track mainly follows the road adjacently. With a bit planning, it's easy to take one train on the celluloid several consecutive times.  
  Due to some gorge like places close to Weissenburg, some tunnels were constructed here. A train with 399 is passing the portal of such tunnel. (top of page)  
  In 1989 the Mh.6 still looked similar like usual 399 engines. Just the number plate and other minor details were individual. The train has passed the Frankenfels station and is on the way to Laubenbachmuehle close to the Boding station.
  The ramp section starts immediately behind the Laubenbachmuehle station. Before departing, the loco crew filled up the water containment of the tender. Driving the Mh at the ramp is not easy, because of partly slippery rails. Locomotive drivers need a lot of experience and sensibility if wheels loose grip …  
  The ramp consists of three consecutive uphill sections connected by 180° turns. The total vertical elevation between Laubenbachmuehle and the highest point at the Goesing tunnel is about 358 m. In summer 1988 a steam train is on tour passing the middle ramp section close to the Winterbach station. (top of page)  
  Short time ago the train has passed the Winterbach station which is located at the beginning of the third and final ramp section. Next station is Puchenstuben and later will follow up the Goesing tunnel. Maximum incline is 25 ‰.  

Behind the Goesing tunnel the line descends to the Annaberg station which is located at the Reithsattel. Here steam is used mainly for braking purpose. Starting here a further uphill ramp section to Mariazell follows.

  This one is from Annaberg station too. Some interesting details are visible on the shot from 1988. Parked carriages like visible are totally rare today. Also the small wooden house besides the rail weigh-bridge with the funny signal at its roof, don't exist anymore today. (top of page)  
  Close to Wienerbruck the line passes the lake Lassing. When I took this picture, I included the water reflections symmetrically when composing the shot.  
  Now we have reached the Mariazell area. In the background the cloudy Gemeindealpe mountain is susceptible. A 1099 is parked in the back.
Mariazell has turntable equipment to turn Mh.6 to the new position for the way back to St. Poelten.
  After de-clutching the train waggons, the locomotive is on its way to enter the table. It is visible in the foreground left. (top of page)  
  Muscle force required ...
How many persons in minimum are required to execute this task I don't know ...

  Mh.6 at Mariazell station after filling up the tender water supply containment. The body direction is already turned for home run. If we compare this image with older ones, we recognize that the sand dome has moved from the boiler top position to the side walking plates.  
  This 1988 photograph shows a 399 headed train between two regular ones. All is prepared for their home runs already. We wish good luck... (top of page)  
  In 1989 a Mh.6 operated train is passing the curve close to the hotel Burger at Wienerbruck.  
  In September 2003 I catched this train passing the Saugraben viaduct on its way to St. Poelten. The late afternoon sun illuminates the scenery beautifully. The undisturbed view at the right is result of some tree felling activity short time ago.  
  Finally a 1998 shot from the former line to Gresten. This section was reconstructed to standard gauge operation some few years ago because of increased freight volume. The image shows the Mh.6 with the parting journey special train. (top of page)  
  The next 3 images are from the anniversary "100 years narrow gauge track railroads in Austria", celebrated in 1989. Here Mh.6 and JZ 73.019 of former Yugoslavia are presented in front of the round house at Ober Grafendorf.  
  This is the former OeBB 298.104. Today it is named "Molln" and operated by OeGEG at the Steyr valley line. In the background visible the Ober Grafendorf entrance signal construction.  
  This one is loco 2 of the Styrian regional railway company shining in the late afternoon sun. It is called "Stainz" and has some fitting carriage on its hook. (top of page)  

It's a detail of the 399.04 driving wheel construction. Visible is the lubrication equipment for manual system greasing. The flange-less wheel belongs to the third axle of in total four and reduces the running friction in narrowly bent sections.

Complementing images of winter operation at Part 7

Navigation: Rail world select - Mariazell Line: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 7
Last Update: December 2004 - send me an email
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