The Branch Line Society

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The Branch Line Society Carinthia Explorer; Day 2
Saturday 27th July 2019

Report by David Palmer & Paul Griffin


An earlier start and slightly cooler morning saw the explorers gather once again at Klagenfurt Hauptbahnhof, where the rather splendid little electric Bo-Bo loco 1245.05 sat ahead of our four carriage train, ready to head north from the station. Built in 1935, the mechanical parts came from Lokomotivfabrik Wien-Floridsdorf, with the electrics from ABES (AEG, Brown Boveri, ELIN and Siemens-Schuckert).

Our plucky little engine took us back off to St Veit; a long propelling movement south along the main line right to the end of the sidings to the west, gave access to the Sankt Veit an der Glan avoiding line and the former Sankt Veit an der Glan Westbahnhof steam shed, now owned by our operators, NBiK. Entry to the sidings behind the shed, known as the 'boiler house', was effected by our train coasting past the end of the OHLE, before two small NBiK diesel locos took us to the bitter end of the sidings.

A short break gave time to explore the exhibits at the boiler house, before the diesel locos propelled us back under the wires and we were able to head south east along the single-track Rudolfsbahn to Villach. The second half runs along the north shore of the Ossiacher See (a rather attractive lake). Our schedule, and the need to cross booked passenger trains, gave time for photo stops at some intermediate stations, including Annenheim, (from where a cable car runs to Gerlitzen - 1,909m above sea level) with time for a stroll down to the lake. The local ice cream stall did brisk business then too!

At Villach we rejoined the line from Klagenfurt and headed northwest, under two of the station avoiding lines, along the Tauernbahn and following the river Drau as far as Paternion-Feistritz, where our engine ran round the train before propelling us back into a siding. Heading back towards Villach we took the freight-only Tauern loop (schleife), which allows trains from the Tauernbahn to avoid Villach, to begin our extensive exploration of the huge freight yard at Villach Süd/Fürnitz, with its four-way curves at the east end and triangle at the west end. To achieve this feat our route was:

(1): Villach Warmbad - Fürnitz - clockwise circuit of yard - Furnitz - Arnoldstein (reverse).
(2): Arnoldstein - clockwise around north side of yard - Rosenbach (reverse).
(3): Rosenbach - Fürnitz - clockwise around yard - Villach Warmbad.

It had been planned to do both sides of the Einfahrgruppe Yard, so when the second pass failed to do so our Society organiser asked the driver what was happening. He replied that the south side hadn't been done for 'complicated' reasons, but they would attempt it again on the third pass … success!
During loop (1) hump-shunting was observed in action, though by loop (2) this had finished. On the way to Rosenbach photo stops were made first at Faak am See - beyond which the cable car at Annenheim could clearly be seen - and Winkl, a tiny station distant from any habitation which, we were told, will close with the December 2019 timetable change.

Approaching Rosenbach the bridge carrying the line from Weizelsdorf was visible, its poor condition being the reason why the line has closed. All possible chords around the freight yard having been griced (with the exception of the passenger line from Villach towards Rosenbach), from Villach Warmbad we took the goods lines then the second Villach Hauptbahnhof avoider over the main line and north of the station - though it now hosts Platform 8 - to explore what is prosaically known as Villach Terminal 2, first into Platform 14, alongside a car and sleeper train to Turkey waiting to board.

Here the station pilot, a bright red shunter numbered 2068.018, quickly attached at the rear to pull us beyond the Terminal 2 throat and push back into another vehicle loading platform, this time No11. Then, electric loco re-attached, it was back into Villach Hauptbahnhof station, where our plucky electric ran around for the final time, before depositing the explorers back in Klagenfurt.

PS: The Lendcanaltramway: (BLN 1336.2380) Your correspondents and half of the explorers joined two vintage coaches from Historama Ferlach for the short journey to the metre gauge Lendcanaltramway, by the Wörther See. While half of the group rode on the tramway the other half were guided around the museum, with its interesting collection of tram, bus and cinema memorabilia! Then it was off for a ride on the tramway, with its lightly laid track and scratch built electric 'loco' and trailer car, from adjacent to the canal (which runs from the centre of the city to the Wörther See) around the edge of the park to what appears to be a nature reserve.

At the end of the line is a static car exhibition with things to see in the nature reserve. Returning, a shunt move was made into a somewhat ramshackle shed containing what can only be described as a good number of 'labours of love' - ancient tramcars in need of much TLC. Our visit over, a short coach ride then took us back into the city at the end of a second enjoyable day. At the museum was the coach that had failed on the Friday evening after it was unable to engage reverse gear...

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