Sixth Sense

The small town of Jenbach in the Austrian Tyrol is famous for being the Head Quarters of two different heritage steam railways and yes, one of the reasons that I chose to stop the night here.

Probably most famous of the two railways is the 760mm gauge Zillertalbahn, which runs about 20 miles to the alpine town of Mayrhofen. Mostly this is a busy commercial operation handling passengers and freight, but once a day it also runs a steam operated heritage train. Call it a sixth sense, but as I arrived in town I just knew that there’s was steam about and made my way straight to the station. Sure enough, five minutes later in rolled the train, headed by this splendid 0-8-2 dating from 1909. 


I got chatting to the train crew and was invited onto the footplate for a little ride down the yard on the engine where we swapped steam stories; railwaymen, small boys at heart, same the world over!

I said in my other post that we’d popped up to the Achensee. That was true, but the reason was to follow the other steam railway, the Metre gauge Achensee Bahn. This line is quite unusual being a rack and adhesion system; part of the route is so steep that the locomotive uses a gear wheel meshing in a rack between the track to pull itself and train along, whilst for the remainder of the trip it works like a normal train just using it’s own weight for adhesion on the rails. On the steep part the loco is always at the downhill end of the train but on the adhesion section it pulls it’s load. We caught the last train of the day pulling along near Achensee. The loco dates from1889 and the carriage 1907.


Now before anyone accuses me of getting this picture all squiggly, the loco really does lean forward. This is to ensure that on the steepest sections that it’s boiler remains level and the firebox inner crown stays covered in water, it stops it blowing up! Funny looking little thing though, kinda cute too!

“I know it’s only rock ‘n roll, but I like it.”


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