Semmering Anniversary

On August 22nd 2004 another special train to the Semmering mountain was organized. The steamer 52.4984 was supported by 1020.47 at the trains end.

Though my attention was focussed to the train journey itself, the background of that event was a historical presentation of scenarios remembering the age of line construction mid of 19th century (see above).

This day was an exception in terms of weather conditions during all 150 year celebration events. It was not really shiny as it would be typical for mid of August but it also did not rain. After approaching the Semmering station, the passengers left the train in order to take part in the presentation. The empty train was transferred to Muerzzuschlag where some maintenance works were performed.

As a highlight I have attached some reproductions of original Semmering railway construction drawings worked out and signed by Carl Ritter von Ghega personally.

  This day I started my photo journey close to the tunnel between Gumpoldskirchen and Pfaffstaetten. Though I took also pictures from the train when appearing again after passing the tunnel, I here take one from the moment of entering (8/2004).
  I try to take another shot of the journey to the Semmering mountain. As usual I select the St. Egyden station for this shooting. The train has a lot of delay and nobody knows why. This time I decided to take the picture at the station entrance points. The 1020.47 is clutched in the middle of the train between the 4-axle and 2-axle carriages (8/2004).
  In my imagination I had in mind a fine photograph at the Krauselklause area with a high white steam cloud coming out of the loco's chimney. Because the walking trail to reach the Krauselklause requires a certain time, it was also clear to me, that this would be the only photograph of the uphill journey. The sad result you see here. It seems the train is just pushed by the loco clutched at train's end. Just ugly grey steam hides the scenery which I had planned that carefully (8/2004).

I leave the Krauselklause area and when approaching the Semmering station, the train is departing that moment. All passengers have left the train already. I decide to follow the train to Muerzzuschlag at first. This time not many people did the same like me. I use the opportunity to take some shots from the lubrication maintenance (8/2004). (top of page)


From a certain period of time on, steamers were equipped with lubrication pumps to supply most of the body fixed bearings. Just the rotating and moving bearings at the wheels and rods could not be supplied by such mechanism. Therefore machinists from time to time need to check and fill up the small lubricant boxes attached at movable bearings (8/2004).

  After opening the screw it's possible to check the bearing. But checking all bearings is not the only maintenance, that engine drivers have to perform. Besides others, they also have to check and empty the ash and cinder compartments and of course to fill up the resources water and coal (8/2004).
  After the wheel bearings those of the steering rods are maintained. Driving a steam locomotive requires intensive activity from the machinists all the times when rolling and when stopping too. Compared with that, today's joystick loco steering together with all thinkable drive controls is a boring story… (8/2004). (top of page)

At the rest of the area it is very quiet this Sunday. A lot of engines which at working days are used as tandems are not necessary this day. They park and wait for the next call to support ramp trains either via push or via pull support (8/2004).


With regard to 150 years Semmering railway, an interesting exhibition was open in 2004 at the Old Doctor House of Schottwien. Despite some technical problems, I finished some photographical reproductions of exposed items. This one shows Ghega's original drawing of a Semmering tunnel portal.

Today's appearance of the Kalte Rinne viaduct is well known. Not well known is, that Ghega also worked out alternative constructions like visible on this drawing. This version follows the gothic style and has slim piers. You see Ghega's original signature right of the stamp mark. For better resolution I've attached an enlarged signature version left at the corner.
"Ghega Schottwien den 21. Nov. 1849" (top of page)
  At the area of the Weinzettlwand Prince Liechtenstein had arranged an artificial garden landscape with waterfall at that time. Basically Ghega planned to construct the line passing this garden via open rail tracks as an attraction. But falling rocks killed several workmen and therefore today's tunnel version was built instead. The drawing shows a part of the open rail track planning.
  This one represents the original planning of the Muerzzuschlag station and maintenance area. The building left of the linear shift table and the dark oblong one right above are still existing. Also a part of the former station building left down. Ghega's signature is visible right beside the stamp and a copy right above enlarged a second time.

Remark: when Ghega built the Semmering line, not one of the existing locomotives was able to perform such ramp operation! Therefore in 1850 a constructor competition was opened in order to build adequate locomotives. Four locomotives took part: BAVARIA, SERAING, WIENER NEUSTADT and VINDOBONA. BAVARIA of Maffei won and charged the award of 20.000.- Ducats.
Continue to the event of October 10th, 2004

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