Semmering Anniversary

On October 10th, 2004 the most extended event regarding 150 years Ghega Semmering mountain railway was organized.

This day in summary four steam locomotive operated trains with in total seven steamers were scheduled.
The weather was rainy again.

With regard to the historical meaning of this celebration I have chosen some historic drawings too. The left one shows Carl Ritter von Ghega, the constructor of the railway. This drawing seems to be the only existing. I've never seen another one.

The second one gives an imagination, how the Semmering station looked in 1907. At that time Ghega was already buried since 47 years. Just with few small modifications the station building had that style between 1896 and 1975. In 1975 the reconstruction works resulting in today's building style took place.

Now the four journeys. Three of them departed in Vienna, one in Wr. Neustadt. The first steam train from Vienna was headed by 50.1171 and 2050.02, the second by 77.250 and 33.132 and the third one by 919.138 and 12.14. A photo freight train headed by 52.1227 and 52.7612 departed from Wr. Neustadt. 2050.02 was the only petrol driven loco. A lot of scheduled passing activities highlighted the program. To enlarge images, click on thumbnails!

  This first image starts with the regular nostalgic train headed by 1010.003 when passing the Pfaffstaetten area. I expected the train with 77.250 and 33.132 but this one did not appear. I left this place 20 minutes after the scheduled steam train passing time when the shown train was through (10/2004).
  Later I heard, that they had troubles at the foreseen line. Therefore the train took another line for going to Wr. Neustadt. Now we are at St. Egyden and the getting ahead program had just begun. The train with 77.250 and 33.132 passes the waiting one with 50.1171 and 2050.02 (10/2004).
  The gate operator has a lot to do this day, it is still operated by hand. All few minutes trains passed and the gate needed to be opened and closed on and on. Now an inter city train with two Taurus engines passes (10/2004). (top of page)

This is the next train which departed from Wr. Neustadt. Both steamers 919.138 and 12.14 represent giants of the former steam operated age. Unfortunately both of them produce a lot of detail unfriendly steam at both sides. What the image cannot reproduce is the powerful sound … (10/2004).


The headlights of this next train were visible already on the image before. It is the regular 150 years nostalgic train which we have already seen before. Weather conditions are still foggy and wet (10/2004).

  When departing, the train with 50.1171 and 2050.02 passes my position using the closest track. I would have taken a position on the opposite track side if I had recognized that a bit earlier. Nevertheless such composition with a steam and a petrol loco is quite unusual (10/2004). (top of page)
  The fourth and final steam train was the photo freight train. Also these engines produce a lot of ground steam, which prevents recognizing more details. I assume the drivers had order to produce a lot of steam, because of a helicopter operating film team (10/2004).
  This is the Gloggnitz station area. To here all trains were operated without any supporting help. From here on three trains will get support by electric locos on security reasons. The "Crocodile" called loco (image) will help the freight train (10/2004).
  Usually such security back up locos are clutched at trains end. The train with 919 and 12 gets a Taurus, 77 and 33 get a 1020 and 50 plus 2050 don't need support. Only the both 52 get the "Crocodile" 1100 clutched in front, because push operation is not allowed if the train has 2-axle carriages too (10/2004).
(top of page)
  The shot directly from the front I don't like when taking today's trains. But steamers producing high steam clouds are of course very impressive even when taken directly from the front. As mentioned I assume, that producing heavy steam tracks was an order for all drivers this day (10/2004).

Between Kueb and Eichberg there is a place without vegetation in front. This is the train with 77.250 and 33.132. It's really a pity that weather conditions were not better (10/2004).

  The Kalte Rinne viaduct is one of the best known buildings of the Semmering railway. Therefore I thought it is an obligation also to take shots with steam trains showing them on this viaduct. I decided for a view which is not so frequently used and was afraid that fog could prevent a good view. Fortunately the view was quite okay of course within the general dark and rainy environment. The result you watch this moment … (10/2004).
  Short time later at the Semmering station. Fog and steam clouds mix and prevent clear view sufficiently. Theoretically 3 steam trains should be visible … (10/2004). (top of page)
  At the north ramp open areas to take pictures of trains as a whole are rare. Therefore I tried to find such location at the south ramp down to Muerzzuschlag. Close to the Steinhaus station I climb a small hill close to the rail track. Here the overview is okay and at first the mix traction train appears (10/2004).
  Obviously the railroad people trusted the steam engines on downhill sections. Here the freight train without any additional support loco. By the way the front 52.1227 looked like brand new from the factory (10/2004).
  Now the train with the mighty 2-8-2 and 2-8-4 locos passes. The 919 was in regular operation in Poland before the transfer to Austria. The 12 was built in Romania as a license of the former Austrian class 12 (10/2004). (top of page)
  After approaching Muerzzuschlag all engines get exposed at the former maintenance area and the turntable. Position changes from time to time shall contribute in an interesting event (10/2004).

The 77.250 was formerly classified as 629. Engines of this class were built over 30 years and sold in more than 300 units to different railroad companies. Obviously it was a very competitive construction (10/2004).

  Unfortunately the organizers of historic events frequently don't take care about exposing the engines in fine order for their photographer guests. Regarding poles the situation at Muerzzuschlag is still better than e. g. at Gloggnitz (5/2004). (top of page)
  Class 1189 of OeBB is out of regular operation since many years. At the BBOe age these engines were classified as 1100.100. They were built since 1926 and are e. g. older than class 52 steamers. The rod drive also here requires maintenance (10/2004).
  For a short period of time these two giants were placed like on this image. But short time later 919 and 33 as also 12 and 77 were positioned tender to tender with no distance in between. Why not keeping some photo friendly distance? Nobody knows (10/2004).
  For the return journey all engines except 919 and 12 were turned on the turntable. 919 and 12 seem to be too long for this table. Some of the locomotives were placed for some time in the round house. A lot of rail fans is watching all activities (10/2004). (top of page)
  Class 50 is like 52 and 919 a construction of the former German DRB. After WW2 some units of class 50 remained on Austrian territory. If the 50.1171 also belonged to this group I don't know (10/2004)
  As already mentioned the engine 52,1227 looks like new from the factory. A lot of rail fans is always present when activity around the table goes on. The round house visible in the back in former times surrounded the table by about 160° (10/2004).
  This one shows what I mentioned few images ago. The tender to tender exposure don't look really beautiful for photographers eyes. The space to keep enough distance was of course available. Improvements for the future are welcome (10/2004). (top of page)
  Now we come to the end and a final view over the scenery. On this image 6 of all 7 steam engines are visible. One may assume that events collecting so many old-timers at the same time here will not return in near future again (10/2004).
  In order to test my camera's evening and night view abilities, I take some shots on the return journey too. Meanwhile it is 5:30 pm at the Semmering station. A sign that natural light vanishes more and more is, that the platform illumination is switched on. I need to use 400 ASA and wide open aperture. Nevertheless the results are still acceptable (10/2004).
  This is my last image with regard to 150 years Semmering Ghega railway. Of course the selection shown here is just a short excerpt of all shots I did in summary. If interested in images of any of my presentations or unreleased ones don't hesitate contacting me via email (10/2004).

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Last Update: October 2004 - send me an email
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