The Mariazell Railroad - 4
The downhill section descending more than 350 vertical meters between the Goesing tunnel and Laubenbachmuehle is now passed.

A 46 km long flat run home to St. Poelten starts. This distance is taken in about 1,5 hours. Average speed is 30 km/h.

In the mountains where the journey is something like an "adventure" for many passengers, this speed is acceptable.

But at the valley line this speed is not tolerable anymore nowadays, if we speak about an up to

date traffic system. Unfortunately today the slowest train determines the whole speed paradigm.

Train crossings are just foreseen at Gruenberg, Loich, Laubenbachmuehle and Goesing. If one single train would be faster at a section this would not help, because it would need to wait at the next crossing station for some slower train coming to meet.

In daily practice rather the opposite happens. A delayed train avalanches its delay to many other trains automatically.

General traffic acceleration either is possible, if all used vehicles can drive with faster average speeds and/or if train crossings are executed more flexible - also at stations which are today not used though the track installation would allow it.

Precondition for both alternatives is a clear decision of the line owner to develop the line to an up to date traffic system. Unfortunately since a very long time, the line just lives of its rather ancient substance...

This line presentation consists of 7 parts:
Part 1 and Part 2 gives impression 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 Part 6 is dedicated to steam operated special events. Part 7 finally gives impressions of winter operation.

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

  This is some bird's-eye perspective of the Laubenbachmuehle station taken from the Winterbach area. Left the station building, at the first track some parked carriages, then train 6846 approaching at the next, then behind the building the waiting railcar 6857 and at the fourth, a train with class 2095 locomotive.  

Back again at station altitude one may recognize, that the catenary construction seems to be original in most components. On working days many trains end up here and start the return drive to St. Poelten after some short break.

Click on images to get enlarged presentation!

  This one was taken somewhere at the Kirchberg area. On weekends train 6848 is composed as "Panoramic 760". This means, special carriages are used for that train. After specific refurbishment works the carriages now look like historic vehicles, but with full comfort and facilities.
(top of page)
  When approaching Tradigist the rail track also passes the tower-less St. Andrew church. The church which is some kind of landmark here, was closed in the 60s. Local people did some refurbishment work session between 1975 and 87. In 1986 it was newly consecrated by Franz Cardinal Koenig of Vienna.  
  Now the Steinschal-Tradigist station is approached. The station building right is from about 1910. When the line was built, some smaller station buildings were used. They still exist and are visible on the next image.  
  In 1898 the station building which is visible at the right was built. The wooden building beside is some former toilet facility. The roof of the actual station building is visible in the background. Close to the pole with the red plate a siding track is branching off. In 1912 here was some cement loading zone. Some separate 2 km long 600 mm gauge cement railroad ended here at that time. (top of page)
  This shot was taken at the Mainburg area. Here the Pielach valley is not narrow any more. If trains pass with 50 km/h speed, they look like accommodation trains.  

Close to Hofstetten-Gruenau the rail track was reconstructed some years ago. Before this reconstruction, the line crossed the highway twice and sometimes accidents happened. The colourful train is on its home run in the late afternoon.

  Train 6846 approaches the Hofstetten-Gruenau station at about 6 p.m. arriving from Mariazell. Here the crossing with train 6813 will happen some minutes later. (top of page)  
  At the Kammerhof area, the line seems to be built directly through a farmer's yard.
  In 1989 the anniversary "100 years narrow gauge track railroads in Austria" was celebrated. I also took some regular operation images these days. 1099.013 shunts in order to include some carriages from the train which will arrive here in some minutes from the branch line to Wieselburg. In the back some pickaback operated standard gauge freight wagons.
  On its further way to St. Poelten the line crosses the Pielach river for a last time. In the background the straight line track is visible. The bridge was devastated in WW2 and later reconstructed again. (top of page)  
  On this one the train is freezed at a location close to the one before. Just taken from another position. The Panoramic 760 train passes some hilly region close to Volterndorf on its further way to St. Poelten.  
  This nice location between Volterndorf and Matzersdorf is about 8 km away from the final destination St. Poelten. The late afternoon sun contributes to this impressive illumination.  
  Agriculture is dominating when passing this section. The rail track in the foreground continues behind the photographer's back passing the Matzersdorfer bridge. The bending line track style avoids inclines as far as possible. (top of page).  

Behind the Schwadorf station and the A1 freeway crossing, the line follows a certain time this half style tree avenue. In the background left visible the far Oetscher mountain which just short time ago still dominated the scenery.

  Approaching trains - here a railcar 5090 - descend several meters close before they arrive at the Alpenbahnhof station. With reference to literature, the visible mechanical signal is in operation here since 1909.  
  The Alpenbahnhof area is approached after passing a final curve. Here a small local road is crossed, just secured by yield signals for road users (top of page).  
  At Alpenbahnhof two platform tracks are dedicated to scheduled train operation. All other visible tracks are used for vehicle parking and composing trains. The 4090 railcar at the right got fault here this day. Therefore train 6806 ended here instead of St. Poelten main station as usual …  
  At Alpenbahnhof also a loco-house for 6 engines 1099 is existing. "Alm" is the expression which locals use when speaking about Alpenbahnhof. ( Alm = German language abbreviation for alpine pasture). In August 2003 the 1099 engines: 001, 004, 008, 010, 016 plus 007 got overnight parking inside. Also refer to part 5.  
  Two further tunnels need to be passed at the final line section. First the 271 m long large - and then the 138 m long small Eisberg tunnel. When passing the portal of the visible small Eisberg tunnel, trains approach to the St. Poelten main station area. (top of page).  

Now the circle got closed. On a journey from St. Poelten to Mariazell and back we have visited the Mariazellerbahn rail track and a lot of beautiful motives along the line. I hope my images were not just interesting for rail fans, but also for potential tourists planning to visit this region.


At the end train compositions are pushed back to the Alpenbahnhof area. In the foreground right the gate operator's house is visible. In the background right the narrow gauge facilities of the Mariazell railroad are recognizable, left the standard gauge Leobersdorf line, and behind some OEBB maintenance facilities.
Complementing images at Part 5

Navigation: Rail world select - Mariazell Line: Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7
Last Update: December 2004 - send me an email
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