The International Steam Pages

The Taurachbahn and Club 760, 2012

Chris Yapp writes of his visit to the Taurachbahn:

The Taurachbahn is one of the less well known 760mm narrow gauge railways in Austria situated about 130 kilometres south of Salzburg. It links the small town of Mauterndorf with the village of Sankt Andra about 10 kilometres to the east and follows the valley of the River Taurach, a tributary of the River Mur.

Club 760 operates a steam service on the line between Mauterndorf, Mariapfarr and Sankt Andra on weekends from late June to early September. Most Saturdays and Sundays trains depart from Mauterndorf at 10am and 2pm but, on weekends at the beginning and end of the operating season, there is only one round trip leaving Mauterndorf at 2pm.

The Taurachbahn was originally the western end of the Murtalbahn and passenger and freight services ran the full length of the line between Unzmarkt, Murau, Tamsweg and Mauterndorf. The passenger service between Tamsweg and Mauterndorf was withdrawn in 1973 as a result of a low level of patronage but some steam specials did run during the late 1970s. Freight services carrying timber and agricultural products continued until June 1980 when a railway overbridge just to the east of Sankt Andra was damaged by a truck causing the cessation of all traffic and leading to formal closure in September 1981.

In 1982 Club 760 signed an agreement to lease the line from a point to the west of Tamsweg to the terminus at Mauterndorf. In 1983 the bridge at Sankt Andra was repaired allowing the movement of locomotives and stock to Mauterndorf. During 1984 and 1985 the railway was diverted on to a new alignment for a short distance to the west of Sankt Andra and, in 1988, the legal processes necessary to allow the operation of a service for tourists were completed enabling the operation of trains to resume in July 1988.

The line between Tamsweg and Sankt Andra remains in place but is used only for the transfer of locomotives and stock between the Taurachbahn and the Club 760 museum and store at Frojach on the Murtalbahn east of Murau. The line leased by Club 760 commences just north of Tamsweg at a distance of 66 kilometres from Unzmarkt.

There is no loop at Sankt Andra to allow a locomotive to run around its train. Instead, a stub siding built a short distance to the east of the village allows the locomotive to be stabled whilst gravity allows the empty stock to roll past the turnout so that the locomotive is able to haul the train up the gradient to the station at Sankt Andra-Andlwirt.

There are two intermediate stops on the single line between Sankt Andra and Mauterndorf – the station at Maria Pfarr nearly three kilometres from the village it serves and a rural halt at Grobendorf.

Most level crossings on the line are of the ‘open’ variety relying on ‘give way’ signs to stop traffic but there are level crossings of main roads at Lintsching and Maria Pfarr where the train stops to allow the train crew to operate the barriers. The line is paralleled by a cycle path between Sankt Andra and Mariapfarr. West of Maria Pfarr cyclists can use un-metalled roads and farm tracks to reach Mauterndorf without using the main road.

The terminus at Mauterndorf has three tracks and ends at a new wooden depot built when the line was reopened. The working locomotives and stock are kept at Mauterndorf. Unfortunately, the doors are only opened briefly when the locomotive enters and leaves the depot at start and finish of service and between the morning and afternoon journeys and, during my visit in August 2012, I was never in the right place at the right time. The working locomotive during my visit was No. 12 Krauss 5513 0-6-2T facing west (meaning towards Mauterndorf).

Club 760 operates the Taurachbahn and the mid-week steam tourist service between Murau and Tamsweg on the Murtalbahn. The usual motive power for the Murtalbahn steam service is Bh.1 Krauss 5330 0-6-2T but the Club provided Bh.1 and U11 Mauterndorf Krauss 3065 0-6-2T to double-head the IGE ‘Austrian Jubilee Express’ charter from Unzmarkt to Murau on 20th August 2012.

During 2011 and 2012 the Club also provided 298.56 Floridsdorf 1354 0-6-2T to work on the Stainzer Lokalbahn between Stainz and the junction with the Graz Koflacherbahn at Predling.

No. 12 0-6-2T climbing to Sankt Andra Station on empty stock after running around at the stub siding.

No. 12 0-6-2T leaving Sankt Andra on the new formation built in 1984/85.

No. 12 0-6-2T pulling away from the level crossing stop at Lintsching.

No. 12 at Maria Pfarr Station.

No. 12 near Mauterndorf.

298.56 0-6-2T near Stainz on the Stainzer Lokalbahn

Bh.1 0-6-2T and U11 Mauterndorf 0-6-2T climbing towards Murau on the IGE Austria Jubilee Express charter on the Murtalbahn.

The going away shot avoids the rainbow set of coaches.

Rob Dickinson