Budapest-based Class 47 conquers the world-famous Semmering Pass

THE Austrian Alps echoed to the sound of a Brush/Sulzer Type 4 for the first time on June 9-10
when Continental Rail Solution’s No. 47375 Falcon hauled a unique railtour from Budapest to the world-famous Semmering Pass.

Around 50 visitors from the UK enjoyed the ex-Tinsley, ex-Fragonset Class 47/3 performing faultlessly throughout the 430-mile round trip, the highlight of which was the 18-mile ascent to Semmering, with a ruling gradient of 1-in-40 and severe curves throughout.

The astonishing sight of an ex-BR Class 47 on the Semmering mountain railway in Austria. Continental Rail Solution’s No. 47375 Falcon heads for the summit on June 9, crossing one of the route’s many beautiful stone viaducts. The four-coach ‘Continental Classic Express’ includes two former Austrian Federal Railways Schlieren First Class coaches, an ex-DB restaurant car built for the TEE ‘Parsifal’ in the 1960s, and a former Austrian government staff car. ROBERT GRAY

At more than 895 metres (2,936ft) high, the line’s summit is almost twice as high as the highest point on the British main line network, at Druimachdar, on the Highland Main Line (1,484ft).

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The Semmering line was built between 1848 and 1854 as part of the Austrian Southern Railway (Südbahn), linking Vienna with Trieste, and was the first standard gauge mountain railway in Europe.

Engineering features include 16 major viaducts, 118 smaller stone bridges, 11 iron bridges and 14 tunnels, including the 1,431m-long summit tunnel.

It is regarded as one of the greatest feats of civil engineering from the early period of railway construction, and remains a key part of the Austrian national rail network. It was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1998.

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