In the beginning …
In 1886, the K.K. Consul Theodor Friedrich Freiherr von Dreifuss from Grüneck near the village of Kreuth in Upper Bavaria applied for a concession to build a cog wheel railway – specifically a railway connection between Jenbach in the Inn valley and the Southern corner of the Achensee. The adjacent villages had major concerns about this modern railway. The monastery of Fiecht - the owner of the Achensee and the operator of the steam shipping at the time- supported the railway project.
The construction of the railway
On August 1st, 1888, his Majesty the Emperor Kaiser Franz Josef I gave his consent to the construction and operation of the narrow gauge railway with mixed adhesion and cog wheel operation.
The document, partly hand-written in gold, includes the Emperor’s seal and is still intact and in possession of the Achensee Cog Wheel Railway company. The concession was issued to expire after 90 years. The Berlin company “Soenderop” carried out the construction.
On June 8th, 1889, the official opening ceremonies took place. With a length of 6.36km the railway did not quite reach the Achensee but ended approximately 400m short of the steamboat station at Seespitz. No mishap but precise calculation, the idea behind it being an additional source of income for the monastery Fiecht: luggage and freight were to be transported on a separate escalator between train and boat at a surcharge.
This escalator was in use until 1916 when the railway track was extended to the steamboat station. At the extension’s official legalization in 1926 a new station building was erected and the steamboat station was renewed. The railway track had then reached a length of 6,78 km. The combined station was adapted to modern-day requirements in 1971.
The Achensee Steam Cog Railway during World War II
In addition to the transport of people, the transport of goods –mainly timber from the surrounding areas of the Achensee- was the main purpose of the railway.
The highest transport volume was reached during World War II. 142.000 persons were transported due to the war. Refugees of bombed out areas now living at the lake as well as organizations essential to war proceedings had to be supplied. Extensive freight transports were carried out and the railway proved of utmost importance in its role of sole carrier of supplies to the Achensee region, especially during the difficult post war period.
Facts and figures on passenger transport
During our 100-year jubilee season in 1989, the number of passengers transported exceeded the 100.000-mark for the first time, totalling 121.900. During the summer season of 1991 (6 months) numbers even peaked at 134.100. Until 2010, the 100.000-mark was continuously topped except for 2007 when numbers fell to 97.960.
Our locomotives´ names
Locomotives 1 to 4: The four locomotives of the Achenseebahn AG were built in 1889 at the factory premises of Floridsdorfer. Type: Bzn2t, formerly Bzt-n2 (B = coupled axis (2), z = cog wheel, n = steam engine, t = tender engine, 2 = 2 cylinders.)
They bore the numbers 701 to 704 and were named after the four main share holders of the Achensee-Dampf-Zahnradbahn:
No. 1 – Theodor – (K.u.K. Consul Theodor Freiherr von Dreifus of Grüneck bei Dorf Kreut… Bavaria)
No. 2 – Hermann – (Geheimer Kommerzienrat* Hermann Gruson, president of the management board… Magdeburg-Buckau) (*honorary title of a businessman)
No. 3 – Georg – (railway construction entrepreneur Georg Soenderop… Berlin)
No. 4 – Carl – (banker Karl Schlesinger – Trier… Berlin
Around the turn of the century, the name signs were removed as a more matter-of-fact attitude had replaced the initial noblesse and glory of the railway.
1 “Theodor” - since 1983 “EBEN”
2 “Hermann” – since 1979 “WIESING”, since 1983 “JENBACH”
3 “Georg” – since 1983 “ACHENKIRCH”
4 “Carl” – scrapped in 1956, newly built (commencing in 2008) – now “HANNAH”
In 1950, the TIWAG (the Tyrolean Hydro- Electric Company) acquired the majority of the shares. The shares were passed on in equal parts to the villages along the railway track Maurach and Eben, as well as to Achenkirch at the far end of the lake in 1979. At the same time, renovation works were carried out on the level section of the track, partly financed by the former owners TIWAG and the Tyrolean and Austrian government. Since 1991, the villages of Eben, Jenbach and Achenkirch are the main share holders.
At the 2010 general meeting KommR. Christian Kittl was elected chairman. A large number of the new shares were acquired by him in 2009. The share capital of the company now stands at EUR 410.991.-