Last updated on September 27th, 2020 at 08:14 am
The Mariazellerbahn mountain railway, opened in 1907, connects the Lower Austrian capital St. Pölten with the Styrian town of Mariazell.
For the first few kilometres, the narrow-gauge railway crosses mainly agricultural hill country and switches into the Pielach Valley south of St. Pölten. Above the village of Erlaufboden, passengers can view the 1893-metre-high Ötscher for the first time.
The route leads over picturesque viaducts, through steep forests and past the idyllic waters of the Lassing reservoir. A trip to the rugged and romantic Ötschergraben is an option from the Wienerbruck-Josefsberg station.
Now the route turns to the Erlauf. This section is considered the scenic highlight of the Mariazell railway: passengers can see the “Zinken”, as the rugged gorge is known, between a series of short tunnels.
Mitterbach am Erlaufsee is the last stop in Lower Austria, and shortly afterwards the narrow-gauge railway reaches its destination: the pilgrimage site of Mariazell in Styria.
Mariazell has made a name for itself with its magnificent basilica, but also with its traditional gingerbread, and attracts thousands of pilgrims every year.
Guests can enjoy a good view of the passing countryside in the Himmelstreppe (‘Stairway to Heaven’) panorama carriage, which operates on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from May to October.
Special steam train services on the route are operated monthly in summer and more frequently during Advent.
More information: www.mariazellerbahn.at