low-floor train at the Jenbach train station
|Line length||31.7 km (19.7 mi)|
|Track gauge||760 mm (2 ft 5 15⁄16 in)|
The Zillertal Railway or Zillertalbahn is a 760 mm (2 ft 5 15⁄16 in) gauge independent railway running along the valley of the river Ziller (Zillertal) from Jenbach to Mayrhofen within the Tyrol area of Austria and is nearly 32 km long.
Running through a picturesque valley in a high amenity rural area, the line is much appreciated by tourists but is also well used as an ordinary transport method by local people. Railway enthusiasts are attracted to it because of its use of steam engines and its unusually small track gauge.
Most of the passenger train services operate using modern diesel locomotives and railcars but the Zillertal Railway also has several steam locomotives which are used with heritage veranda rolling stock for special trains targeting tourists. Goods traffic is carried; standard gauge wagons from and to the main line network are carried on transporter wagons.
In Jenbach the Zillertal Railway meets the ÖBB standard gauge line between Salzburg and Innsbruck and the metre gauge Achenseebahn. Jenbach is the only location in Austria where railways with three different gauges meet.
The line was opened on 31 July 1902, serving the needs of residents of the upper Ziller valley and giving them access to Jenbach and the main line railway in the Inn Valley.
In 1956 the present day company name, Zillertaler Verkehrsbetriebe AG, (i.e. The Zillertaler Transport Company) was adopted when the company absorbed a local bus operation that had been founded in 1935.
In 1965 the line was extended by 2.5 km to bring materials and equipment to a power station; the extension line has subsequently been removed once more. However at that time two diesel locomotives and some transporter wagons were acquired and the Zillertalbahn became the first railway in Austria to use "Zugfunk"—train control by radio.
In 1976 extraction of magnesium ore from Tux came to an end; this traffic had been an important source of income for the line since 1928.
Since 2005 points on the line have been remotely controlled from the Jenbach control centre using fibre optic transmission.
In 2010 the annual freight traffic amounted to 320,000 tonnes, predominantly in connection with the forest products industry. 1.54 million passengers were carried in that year, a half-hourly service of train and bus journeys combined being introduced.
The sections Ramsau–Hippach–Zell am Ziller (3.33 km) and Kaltenbach-Stumm–Angersbach–Ahrnbach (2.0 km) have been made double track.
Rolling stock to the United Kingdom
The Zillertaler Verkehrsbetriebe AG is (2010) owned by the Jenbach Marktgemeinde (i.e. local government unit) and other local communities (61%); individual shareholders (34%); and the Austrian state (5%).
- "Zillertalbahn cable railway". Travel Guide. Austrian National Tourist Office. Retrieved 2009-05-18. Note: the target page refers to a Cable railway but this is a translation error; the page describes the Zillertalbahn.
- Karl Arne Richter (editor), Europäische Bahnen '11, Eurailpress, Hamburg, 2010, ISBN 978-3-7771-0413-3