Empress Elisabeth Railway
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The Empress Elisabeth Railway (German: Kaiserin Elisabeth-Bahn) was the name of a former railway company during the time of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Today, the term is still used to refer to the railway lines that were formerly operated by that company.
Named after Empress Elisabeth, the k.k. privilegierte Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Bahn operated a line from Vienna to Linz, which was built between 1856 and 1858. The extensions from Linz to Salzburg and Passau were opened in 1860 and 1861. The company was nationalized in 1882 and is today operated by the Austrian Federal Railways.
Since World War I, the former Gisela Railway from Salzburg via Zell am See to Wörgl, the North Tyrolean Railway (Kufstein-Innsbruck, operated by the Austrian Southern Railway until 1923) and the Arlberg railway have been understood as part of the Western Railway. Vienna West Station was heavily damaged in World War II and reconstructed until 1952, when the railway had been equipped with electrical power lines.
The line today
Today, ICE trains and Austrian Railjet (ÖBB Railjet description) trains run on it, but most time below 200 km/h. The railway is being upgraded and partially rebuilt, and will partly allow speeds up to 230 km/h.
Empress Elisabeth Western Railway was recently selected as a main motif for a high value collectors' coin: the Empress Elisabeth Western Railway commemorative coin. The obverse shows the steam locomotive kkStB 306.01 crossing a railroad bridge on the Austrian Western Railway path. The locomotive was developed by Karl Gölsdorf in 1908.