The Fiction

The line to Wüttensee and beyond started as an offshoot of the longer Waldviertel-bahn from Gmund to Gross Gerungs, and was built at the turn of the century to provide access to the timber producing areas on the Czech border.

Even before the post WW1 border changes the 76cm narrow gauge line through Wüttensee was a quiet lonely place. The line used to extend to Pohori na - Sumahve (in the Czech Republic), some 20 years earlier it had become a junction for the branch to Karlstift. It was originally proposed to extend the line to Freistadt but the traffic never proved sufficient to justify this. The creation of Czechoslovakia changed everything overnight. The line to Pohori now stopped at the border and Wüttensee became a switchback  junction for the Karlstift branch line.

The line towards the Czech border still remains, but is now used to store surplus rolling stock. The once extensive timber traffic is now a thing of the past. Alas the private car and a subsidized bus service have reduced demand for the scenic delights of the Wüttenseebahn. Only a few passengers (mainly fishermen) get off at the station. Most stay on the train as it runs round to head off to join the Waldviertelbahn which has a mainline connection at Gmünd for Wien.

Passenger traffic, until recently the responsibility of Class 2091 diesels, is now handled by a Class 5090 railcar, although some services are still booked for a Class 2095 Diesel locomotive. Such goods traffic as there is also handled by a 2095. Being somewhat of a backwater, even for the Austrian Narrow Gauge, examples of other classes such as 2091 and 2190 may also appear from time to time. By 1999 this was the last place these types were working regularly, making the line popular with enthusiasts.

In common with much of the Austrian Narrow Gauge, in 1999 the line was under threat of closure, along with the section from Gmünd to Gross Gerungs. Whilst the next timetable could result in the demise of services forever, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. A local enthusiast group, the WSV, plans to run steam and diesel excursion trains on the route, and the Lander aspires to revive the proposal to extend the line to Freistadt to replace its fleet of buses.

The Facts

The layout was built by Kelvin White, an Austrian Railway Group member, and bought by BMRG member Paul Fergusson shortly after its first exhibition.

© Monitor Computing Services Limited 2006