Waldviertel narrow gauge line 1

This is the first part of my new documentation with regard to the Waldviertel narrow gauge lines (Waldviertler Schmalspurbahn). It describes the southern branch of this 760 mm line, it starts at Gmuend and finally ends up at Gross Gerungs. This first part presents the section until Steinbach Grosspertholz. Part 2 will continue to the final destination. Winter images are available too.

The official operation of this railroad line ended by July 2001. Since then, a tourist train program is executed on specific days. Scroll down for more information!

The former versions of this documentation still presented regular operation, this new one was produced during several line visits in 2005 and shows the tourist train operation.

In 2005 trains went on Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The operator is Noevog. For geographical orientation click on the map symbol left!

Weekly the hauling engine is alternated between fuel operation and steam operation. The year 2005 provided several surprises regarding used steam engines. Two types which today are very unusual for this line were in operation.

Just for a short period of time the 399.01 stayed here. This engine was done up before at the German loco refurbishment facility at Meiningen. The first regular runs after leaving Meiningen were executed here. Usual home of this engine is the line between Zell am See and Krimml.

The second unusual machine is the 699.103. This engine was transferred here from the usual home at the Steyr valley railroad, because no other steam engine was available locally. The usual local engine 399.03 is under refurbishment works at the moment.


After firing the boiler early in the morning, the next action of the new day is filling up the coal compartment. The shown coal crane exists since about 1972. It is out of order today. A simple conveyor-belt is used instead (10/2005).

Click on preview images for enlarged presentation!

  Of course the water resources have to be filled up too. The engine stops at the water crane. Originally the water tanks of this engine were smaller. When reconstructing the engine to a tender loco, they were enlarged until the front door. And then, after lubricating the bearings, the engine is ready for the next tour ... (10/2005).  
  This is one of the locos which has its home here, it's the 399.04. The machinists inspect the front steam compartment. It's a construction attribute of this class, that tender axles have to carry a part of the loco weight (5/2003). top of page  
  This is the side view of 699.103, the rear coal compartment was attached as a reconstruction work later. The overhang increases thereby. A label signs, that the loco usually has its home at Steyr (10/2005).  
  Now everything is ready for the run. Proudly the old engine poses besides a former maintenance building. The crew is awaiting the go command (10/2005).  
  As told, not just steam trains are in operation. Weekly alternating the trains are headed by either fuel or steam driven engines. Here we see the class 2095.14 loco at the narrow gauge platform ready for departure. The visible turnout signals indicate, that in former times chained trains could leave independently to different destinations (10/2005).
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  Now our train is exiting the narrow gauge station of Gmuend. The used track follows in direction Groß Gerungs, the one adjacent left is the track to the northern branch, leading to Litschau and Heidenreichstein. In the background left, the Gmuend roundhouse area is visible (10/2005).  
  This shot was made from the embankment of the Franz Joseph Railroad. The left turn introduces the main line direction of the next few kilometres. Behind, the so called track triangle is visible. It is a rest of the former track installation, when before WW1 the station building was located at the territory, which today belongs to the Czech republic. The triangle may be used for turning vehicles (10/2005).  
  The map presents the course of the described line. At the beginning the 43 kilometres long line roughly follows the Lainsitz creek. Later the so called "Small Semmering" will be passed, then the Bruderndorfer plateau, and finally the line descends again towards the terminal station at Gross Gerungs. top of page  
  After departing Gmuend the line at first follows the Lainsitz creek. Later, before Alt Weitra is arrived, the Eichberg mountain needs to be passed by a north west bend. Here we see the first curve introducing this bend (10/2005).  
  Our composition arrives at the small loading and passenger station of Alt Weitra. In the background, the Eichberg mountain is still visible. After a short stop, the train continues its drive. The colourful surrounding signalises, that the season is fall (10/2005).  
  Immediately behind the Alt Weitra station the line crosses the highway. Within the next few kilometres about 75 vertical meters have to be taken. In the background the Eichberg and the buildings of Alt Weitra (10/2005). top of page  
  After a few minutes this nice fishing water called Weitraer Teich is passed. Sometimes mirroring images like this are possible here. In the foreground at the moment a small group of ducks is starting from the water face (10/2005).  
  As told, about 75 vertical meters are taken here, on the run until the Weitra station. The 699.103 hauls its train through the nice landscape which is called Wasserberge (10/2005).  
  During the winter period most fishing waters are emptied on time. In the background such emptied water is visible. In a few moments our train will enter the bend which is called the Ulrichserbogen, it extends the line length artificially and makes a full 180° curve (10/2005). top of page  
  This fuel driven train enters this moment the first part of the mentioned bend. In the background left besides the loco the hillside section of the bend is visible. Also see next image (10/2005).  

While in the foreground, as before, the bend entrance is visible, the train already has arrived the bend exit in the background. More and more, the landscape adapts to the typical Waldviertel style (10/2005).

  Close to the position of the image before our train continues its uphill drive. The inclination is about 22‰ and the low sun produces already longer shadows. The train load is far away, to bring the loco to its limits (10/2005). top of page  
  Now a steam train again. There are just a few meters more to go, until arriving at Weitra station. The background is colourful nice, some would call it Indian Summer. The 699.103 has a rather low cabin roof, the engine looks a bit small for the rest of the train (10/2005).  
  Now we have arrived at the Weita station. Often the bulk of passengers gets in here. Weita is the most well known small town along the whole line. Weita castle and the town square are additional interesting subjects (10/2005).  
  Also behind the Weitra station the line inclination continues constantly. Through the foggy weather some buildings of Weitra are recognisable in the background. Actually the train passes the southern corner of the local gulf course. Steam condensation works fine during such weather conditions (10/2005). top of page  
  A train together with Weita castle, that is the image challenge when being here. From the northern golf course rim this image was taken after a little search for a good position. The castle construction was finished in 1605 (10/2005).  
  The Hausschachen viaduct is the first of two impressive civil works along the line. Compared with older shots, the view is already heavily disturbed by trees in the foreground. If a higher position would be possible, also from here the castle could be included in the background (10/2005).  
  This 16 carriage monster train was on tour on 2005, October 1st. The newly maintained 399.01 comes in front of a class 2095. 16 carriages are very unusual at this line, standard are 8. In the back the handrails of the Hausschachen viaduct are still visible. In a few moments the train will cross the road to St. Wolfgang city (10/2005). top of page  
  This viaduct which is crossing the Wolfganggraben is the second important civil work of the line. The train with 699.103 is passing the viaduct in a fall coloured environment (10/2005).  
  On its further continuation to St. Martin station, the line follows the contour lines. But this section is still uphill inclination, close to the Anger village (10/2005).  
  Now the Lainsitz creek valley is reached again, but several meters above valley floor. Between the Schoellbuechl and the Rossbruck village the line track is visible like a small panorama curve (5/2003). top of page  
  This is a back run image. After departing the St. Martin station the composition appeared at 3:18 pm at this location close to Rossbruck (10/2005).  
  Since Gmuend we have now arrived at a distance of 21 kilometres. Until 1960 the shown St. Martin station was a full function station, later it was reduced to a loading and passenger station. Today all facilities are empty and will dilapidate more and more (10/2005).  
  On its further run towards Steinbach Grosspertholz, the valley floor level is reached again. Close to the old valley road and close to the creek the line continues through the interesting landscape (10/2005). top of page  
  In order to get a nice overview, I climbed up a small slope. From here we get an impression how the general scenery looks like (10/2005).  
  Close before entering the Steinbach Grosspertholz station, there is opportunity to get a shot of the Lainsitz creek together with the line. The farm house in the back is typical style for this region (10/2005).  

After a run of 24 kilometres, the Steinbach Grosspertholz station is arrived. During its stop, the 399.01 did fill up the water tanks for the heavy inclination which will follow now, when climbing up the Small Semmering mountain. The moment the 16 carriage composition departs (10/2005). top of page

Continue to part 2 here

Navigation: Rail world select - Waldviertel Line: Part 2, Winter image
Last Update: January 2006 - send me an email
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