Mon Sep 26th, 2005 at 11:11:04 AM EST
Where there are bridges, there are often trains! New from the diaries!! ~ whataboutbob
I don't expect this to be nearly as popular as PeWi's Thursday Bridge Blogging, but I hope there are other people around who don't just ride public transport, but can find aesthetic pleasure in them, just like car drivers in their vehicles.
In this first instalment, a photo I shot one year ago (
click for wallpaper version; note image hosting server is sometimes slow):
Austrian IC train IC536 "DON BOSCO" towards Vienna descends the Semmering line, hauled by an ÖBB class 1116 "Taurus", one of the singing locomotives.
In terms of quality, Austrian railways are second-only to Switzerland. Even local trains run with comfortable modern(ised) trainsets, and higher-quality express trains like the one pictured run every hour.
The Semmering line was the world's first mountain railway, opened 1854. But as befitting for Vienna's gateway to South Austria and beyond (Slovenia, Italy), it long should have been relieved by a base tunnel. However, for one decade, the head of Lower Austria blocked it, claiming environmental damage. A rather ridiculous excuse, given that in the meantime a highway was constructed along the same route: a magnitudes higher environmental impact, both during and after construction...
Now it looks as if it will be built, with a slightly changed route (and 29 km long).
The "Taurus" family of modern electric locomotives (ÖBB classes 1016, 1116, 1216) realise an old dream of railways: they were the world's first true universal locomotives. Whether express train or local stopping train, long freight or mountain service, they can and do pull them all. Top speed is 230 km/h (143 mph), maximum continuous power 6,400 kW (8,700 HP) – the latter is almost 50% more than the most powerful US diesels, at less than half the weight!
When starting, the power electronics of the two older classes emit a loud, almost musical noise of step-by-step increasing pitch, hence they are dubbed the singing locomotives.