Achenseebahn in Austria can breathe a sigh of relief

c Loco no. 3 and its carriage had just successfully completed the last safety checks in Burgeck. Photo on 5 May 2020 : Gunter Mackinger

The Achenseebahn in Tyrol, which is threatened with “extinction”, can breathe a sigh of relief: a brief expert report commissioned by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Art, Culture, Public Service and Sports/Department for Monument Protection confirms its historical value as a typical example of a tourist mountain railway with largely intact original technical equipment and rolling stock. Both in the regional and national context, it is a railway of railway-historical uniqueness and importance and thus an outstanding part of Austria’s railway history. It is recommended to protect it as a monument in its entirety.

Furthermore, it possesses an extremely rare authenticity and originality in international comparison with regard to a continuous cogwheel and adhesion operation with largely original infrastructure and rolling stock. This also opens up the possibility that the railway will not only be protected as a national monument, but could also become part of a transnational UNESCO world heritage listing for “European Rack Railways” together with other exceptional mountain railways in the Alps in the style of the World Heritage Site “Mountain Railways in India”.

There is still much work to do for trains to run this year but there is light at the end of the tunnel for the Achenseebahn team.

This report is an important step towards saving the substance of the Achensee railway.

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