The Mariazell Railway - 2

This second part of the Mariazell Railway presen-
tation takes focus on the mountain section.

The Pielach - and Nattersbach valley sections were rather flat ones. From Laubenbachmuehle (altitude 534m) to Mariazell (860m) the direct distance is ~18 kilometers, the vertical elevation 330 meters.

But because of topology it was not possible to construct the line directly between those locations.

At a direct distance of 5 kilometers a 892 m high pass needs to be crossed.

For that purpose the engineers constructed a 16 kilometers long mountain section consisting of
3 single ramps, connected by two 180° turns. At the end of this ramp section a 2368 meters long main tunnel follows.

The maximum line altitude of 892 m is reached in that tunnel. Behind the tunnel a descent section to the Reith pass (~810m) continues, and then the line again rises until Mariazell (~860m).

MAKING BEAUTY AND CHARME OF THE MARIAZELL RAILROAD ACCESSIBLE TO THE WEB WORLD was an objective when planning this presentation! Therefore I invested a lot of effort in producing interesting photographs also at locations, which are not that easily accessible. The results are virtually visible here now.

This line presentation has 7 parts:
Part 1
and Part 2 will 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 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!


The Laubenbachmuehle station terminated the line until 1904. The station consists of a station building with similar style like Mariazell and a loco house. Here starts the mountain section of the line. The rail fan club train departs from the station and enters the first ramp section.

Click on images to get enlarged presentation!

Because the following section is one of the most spectacular of the whole line, this map will give some additional orientation. At the Laubenbachmuehle station the mountain section consisting of three consecutive single ramps connected by 180° turns starts. This section ends after about 16 kilometers at the portal of the Goesing tunnel. A train needs to pass 6 tunnels and 9 bridges or viaducts on the way to the Goesing tunnel. Because of the rather hidden location of this section, taking photographs requires a lot of exploration.
Map: Kulturpark Eisenstrasse -

  The slope opposite to the Laubenbach station enables good overview over all three ramp parts. Using multi exposure technique I tried to present one train at three consecutive moments at the different levels of the line. First exposure: departure from Laubenbachmuehle, second exposure: Train at middle ramp above the farm house and third exposure: train at the upper ramp. The insert contains an enlargement of the upper ramp for better recognition. (top of page).  
  On the way up the line passes the Unter Buchberg station at 50 km and the Kerlstein tunnel at 51,4. Then follows the first 180° turn, of which a part is shown on that image. The insert graphic gives an idea, how the turn continues because my wide angle lens was not short enough. The railcar will enter the Steinbach tunnel in a few moments.  
  After the 49 m long Steinbach tunnel is passed, the line continues climbing up the opposite Nattersbach valley side. The first viaduct which is passed is the Buchgraben viaduct with its four arches. Most other Mariazellerbahn viaducts have 3 arches.  
  At line distance 52,8 the Weisswasser viaduct follows. At this ramp section it is the only one with this construction style. I have of course also photographs without some leaves hiding the loco front, but because of the friendly hand waving loco driver, I took this one. (top of page).  
  Later the rail track passes some more open location. This panorama position is accessible by car even. It is located approximately at the middle of the middle ramp at 53 km.  
  Railcar train 6857 close to the end of the middle ramp. Some meters above this location the Winterbach hotel dominates the scenery. These railcars seem to be very powerful in order to eliminate delay situations.  

Now we have skipped some positions which will be presented in part three. The image presents the Eierzeilgraben viaduct which is located between the Winterbach and the Puchenstuben station. Standard construction with 3 arches. (top of page).

  Behind the Puchenstuben station the line continues following the steep mountain slope. To reach the Goesing tunnel, still the Beinriegel - and the Florkogel tunnel need to be passed. Image at line length of about 64 km.  
  It is still the Nattersbach valley visible at the right side and in the background. This line section is very out of the way and taking pictures requires some hike to the opposite mountain slope, from which this and the next photograph was taken.  
  The colorful train approaches the Goesing tunnel. Thanks Image Stabilizer technology and fast optics, the loco number as 1099.001 is easily detectable on the original photograph. At the lower end of the background valley, the Laubenbachmuehle station is located. (top of page).  
  More images from this section in part 3. After the last position the train had to pass the 2368 m long Goesing tunnel and the Goesing station. At line distance 67 km the 84 m long Goesinggraben viaduct is passed and the train approa-ches the Ameiskogel tunnel. From train windows the Oetscher mountain is the dominating impression when looking to the right side.  
  Behind Laubenbachmuehle it is the interesting s-style line construction which inspires railroad interested people, now it is the crossing of several side valleys. Immediately behind the Klausgraben tunnel in the back, the Klausgraben viaduct at 70,2 km chains on. Taking photographs here requires solid boots and a good hiking map…  
  Besides the south portal of the small Klausgraben tunnel, this small hut is located. It gives the motive some specific atmosphere. Next tunnel will be the 58 m long Reithmauer tunnel. (top of page).  
  This shot I needed to take two times. At first I tried a 24 mm focal length lens, but the image did not show the required result of the Saugraben viaduct, which is the largest viaduct of the Mariazell railway. When I made this shot with my Canon EOS 10D camera, the zoom ring of my lens showed 15 mm. Here the original material structure of the building is still visible in contradiction to many other buildings.  

At 71,3 km the Annaberg station is located. The special train of the Mariazellerbahn rail fans stops. Because no passengers leave or enter the train, it will continue its ride immediately. In parallel this Reith sattel terminates the descenting section of the line, which now continues with an again rising final section.

  Down to Annaberg the rail track was built along some mountain flank. Now the landscape change. The lake Lassing is passed on a small bridge at distance 72. The lake is a hydro reservoir which feeds a power plant, producing energy for the Mariazell railroad. (top of page).  
  After passing this reservoir the Wienberruck-Josefberg station is located. Then the line makes another 180° turn and returns to the lake at the opposite slope. From here the line in general passes the mountain Josefsberg at its eastern flank. Close behind this shot, the train will enter the 269 m long Raingraben tunnel.  
  Starting here the line continues again using some very out of the way regions. Immediately behind the Raingraben tunnel the Raingraben bridge, a next highlight of the line is passed. The ground work of the 40 m long bridge was sanified some years ago.  
  Just 800 meters after the Raingraben bridge, this Lassing Kienbach bridge chains on. A railcar class 5090 passes the bridge. Vegetation growth is very extensive. In short time line view will be impossible if no wood felling starts.
(top of page).
  This is at about 76 km. It's a very solitary location - no further signs of mankind except the rail track. The catenary construction seems to be still the original from 1910.  
  Now the line construction enters an area called Zinken. Three consecutive tunnels follow until the Erlaufklause station. A 1099 loco will enter the first Zinkentunnel and then an absolute highlight of the line…  

Between the second Zinken tunnel and the up following Erlaufklaus tunnel a small bridge crosses some gorge. This motive is one of the most spectacular and famous of the whole line. Pictures taken from many different positions are well known under Mariazell railway fans. Good hiking boots are the minimum requirement to get there ... (top of page)

  After the last carriage has left the Erlaufklaus tunnel, at first the Erlaufklause station is passed and then the atmosphere compress' again, when the train enters the area of lake Erlauf, another hydro reservoir for energy generation.  
  To find a good location, the opposite lake shore needs to be accessed. After some tough exploration task, a location with line view is detected. Short time later the main object of interest approaches and crosses the Kuhgraben bridge. The small insert image unhides the idyllic atmosphere of this location.  
  Though the Oetscher mountain is the dominating motive at the right side of the rail track, it's hard to find a location to document this circumstance. I only know this point where such shot is possible. The Oetscher mountain has an elevation of just 1900 m nevertheless it makes eye catching impression. (top of page)  

On the further way to Mariazell another fine photo location exists close before the station is approached. The mighty background mountain is called Buergeralpe and is 1626 m high.

  The light conditions bring some magic to this image. Between the well illuminated scenery in the foreground and in the background, the cloud- shaded Buergeralpe dominates the middle ground. This generates the interesting impression. A 1099 is shunting.  

Final destination Mariazell. Several train compositions are ready for departure to St. Pölten. In the background at the right, the well known pilgrim basilica is visible. Elevation of the basilica is 868 meters. (top of page)

Next consecutive images at Part 3

Navigation: Rail world select - Mariazell Line: Part 1 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7
Last Update: December 2004 - send me an email
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