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Semmering Railway

The Semmering Railway, Austria, which starts at Gloggnitz[?] and leads over the Semmering[?] to Muerzzuschlag[?] is still full functioning - was the first mountain railway of Europe built with a standard gauge track. Because of the extremely difficult terrain and because of the difference in height it can be called the first mountain railway of the world. The designer of the Semmering Railway, Carl Ritter von Ghega, used the newest technologies from the constructions of locomotives, which were developed a short time before for the first time to accomplish the extreme upward gradients and turning radii. The Semmering Railway of Gehga masters with an overall length of 41 km a difference in height of 460 m. It was established between 1848 and 1854. The distance covers 14 tunnels (among them the 1,431 m vertex tunnel), 16 viaducts (of it several two-story) and over 100 curved stone bridges as well as 11 small iron bridges. 60% of the length of the Semmering Railway has an upward gradient of 20-25. The distance is nearly throughout curved, whereby 16% of the distance exhibit the closest rail radius of 190 m. At the same time while building the track the retaining walls, buildings of supervision and stations, which were often established from the abort material the tunnel, were put on. The geological material of the landscape was used directly to its structural organization.

A large problem of the Semmeringstrecke at the timeof building was the fact that the measure of the distance for the draft could not be done correctly. New instruments and surveyings had to be developed for the accomplishment of this problem. The gradient ratio of up to 25 (= a meter difference in height on a 40 m route distance) and the minimum turning radius of 190 m in this order of magnitude were mastered for the first time. To the enterprise on this distance the construction of new locomotives were necessary, which could give substantial new impulses to the building of railways. The tunnels and the viaducts of the track were established by 20.000 workers in six years and represented for the time from the technical and from the organizational criterion a large achievement.

The Semmering Railway was understood already at the present of their completion as "landscape gardening", i.e. as harmonious combination of technology and nature, which offered a unique travel experience. The landscape of the Semmering was opened by the building of the Semmering Railway for Tourisme. Numerous buildings of hotels and mansions are witnesses of this epoch. This enormous upswing to the turn of the century and the revaluation of the region as winter sports area in the first third 20. Century were interrupted later first by wartime and by the changed vacation needs. Therfor this unique culture landscape could be kept unchanged. A travel with the Semmering Railway, whose route is still functioning 150 years after its building, still turns out with its varied landscape, the typical buildings of mansions and the characteristic succession of viaducts and tunnel constructions as special experience.

1998 the Semmering Railway was taken up to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage.



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