The Vindobona was an international named passenger train which began service in 1957 between Berlin and Vienna via Dresden and Prague. In later years the route was extended to run from Hamburg via Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Brno and Vienna to Villach. It was named after the ancient settlement of Vindobona on the site of the modern city of Vienna. Labelled as a EuroCity train connection from 1993, services discontinued in 2014.
The service began on 13 January 1957 using diesel multiple units classified as Fernschnellzug (FDt 50/51) running from Friedrichstraße station in East Berlin via Berlin Ostbahnhof, Elsterwerda, Dresden Hauptbahnhof, Prague hlavní nádraží and České Velenice/Gmünd to Wien Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof. The FDt trains had already begun running between Berlin and Prague in December 1950, including a through coach connection to Vienna. In 1959 the connection was upgraded as Expresszug (Ext 54/55).
From December 1957 the railcars had first and second class sections. The participating companies Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR), Československé státní dráhy (ČSD) and Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) operated one train pair daily, meeting in Czechoslovakia. The service was used primarily by West Berliners, diplomats and Scandinavians in transit through East Germany, connecting from the night trains from Copenhagen (Ostsee-Express) and Stockholm (Saßnitz-Express) via train ferry from Warnemünde and Sassnitz resp., and shuttle trains from Zoologischer Garten station in West Berlin.
In Czechoslovakia trains originally ran on the historic Emperor Franz Joseph Railway line via Tábor to the border with Austria at České Velenice, later rerouted via the first Czech railway corridor to Brno and Břeclav. In the period of "Normalization" from 1969 onwards, domestic travel within Czechoslovakia was for some years completely forbidden, occasionally restricted to journeys between Děčín and Tábor. The original journey via Tábor took over 12 hours to complete from Berlin to Vienna. Later, the mainline via Brno became faster, and the train was rerouted, initially via Havlíčkův Brod and later via Pardubice and Česká Třebová along the Czech international corridor, shortening the journey to 9 hours.
Rolling stock was alternately supplied by the railway companies for a period of two years: The DR used a refurbished pre-war DRG Class SVT 137 unit until 1960, succeeded by MÁVAG 495.0 and 498.0 railcars operated by the ČSD, and ÖBB 5145 ("Blue Lightning") DMUs from 1962. In 1966 DR introduced its newly engineered VT 18.16 diesel-hydraulic express railcars, apparently rivalling with the West German DB Class VT 11.5. Renamed Class 175 in 1970, the prestigious trainsets became a flagship in the range of DR services.
The Vindobona trains continued to be operated by DMUs until 1979, when they were replaced by a composition comprising an electric locomotive coupled with individual carriages. The trains then ran as Durchgangszug (D 275/276) and from 1986 to 1988 services were united with the Hungaria passenger train to Bratislava and Budapest, including Magyar Államvasutak (MÁV) railcars and Jugoslavenske željeznice (JŽ) through coaches to Belgrade. In the last years trains were hauled by DB Class 101, ČD Class 371 and Class 380, and ÖBB 1216 (EuroSprinter) locomotives.
After the Revolutions of 1989 and the fall of the Iron Curtain, the railway connection gained new significance. A EuroCity (EC) service from Hamburg to Prague was already inaugurated in 1992 and in the following year, the Vindobona train also became categorised as EC 172/173. The DR operations were taken over by Deutsche Bahn AG by 1994. With the opening of Berlin Hauptbahnhof on 28 May 2006, trains passed through Berlin via the North–South mainline. As of 2010 trains ran 1,469 kilometres (913 mi) from Villach Hauptbahnhof to Hamburg-Altona via Klagenfurt, Vienna, Brno, Prague, Dresden and Berlin.
As of 14 December 2014, the EC 172/173 Vindobona was replaced by the EC 172/173 Porta Bohemica from Hamburg-Altona to Budapest Keleti, connecting in Prague hlavní nádraží to a Railjet train service via the newly built Wien Hauptbahnhof to Graz Hauptbahnhof and vice versa.
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