Semmering Railway

Semmering Railway

The Semmering Railway, built over 41 km of high mountains between 1848 and 1854, is one of the greatest feats of civil engineering from this pioneering phase of railway building. The high standard of the tunnels, viaducts and other works has ensured the continuous use of the line up to the present day. It runs through a spectacular mountain landscape and there are many fine buildings designed for leisure activities along the way, built when the area was opened up due to the advent of the railway.

Ligne de chemin de fer de Semmering

La ligne de chemin de fer de Semmering, construite entre 1848 et 1854 pour permettre de traverser 41 km de hautes montagnes, compte parmi les grandes prouesses de génie civil dans les premiers temps de la construction ferroviaire. Du fait de la qualité de ses tunnels, viaducs et autres ouvrages, la ligne est demeurée en service de manière ininterrompue jusqu’à nos jours. Elle traverse un paysage montagneux spectaculaire, où de nombreux édifices de qualité destinés aux loisirs ont pu être construits grâce à l’ouverture de la région avec l’arrivée du chemin de fer.

خط سكة الحديد في سيمرينغ

تُعتبر سكة الحديد في سيمرنغ، التي شيّدت بين 1848 و 1854 لتسمح بعبور 41 كيلومتراً من الجبال العالية، من أهم الإنجازات في الهندسة الحضرية في أوائل أيام سكك الحديد. وبفضل جودة أنفاقها وممراتها والأعمال الأخرى، بقي الخط شغالاً بلا انقطاع حتى الآن. وتعبر سكة الحديد هذه المناطق الجبلية البديعة حيث ترتفع مبانٍ عديدة عالية النوعية مخصصة للترفيه وقد تمّ بناؤها بفضل انفتاح المنطقة الناتج عن وصول سكة الحديد اليها.

source: UNESCO/ERI

塞默灵铁路

塞默灵铁路建于1848年到1854年,穿行于崇山峻岭中,全长41公里,是最伟大的土木工程之一,也是铁路建筑史上的里程碑。沿途隧道、高架桥以及其他工程的建造水平很高,因此一直沿用至今。铁路两侧是雄伟的高山,景色十分壮观。铁路开通后,整个地区得到了开发,修建了许多专门用于休闲活动的精美建筑。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Железная дорога Земмеринг

Железная дорога Земмеринг, протяженностью более 41 км, построенная в высокогорной местности в 1848-1854 гг., является одним из выдающихся достижений гражданской инженерии начальной стадии железнодорожного строительства в мире. Высокое качество туннелей, виадуков и других сооружений обеспечило длительное использование линии вплоть до настоящего времени. Железная дорога проходит через живописный горный район, что обусловило развитие вдоль дороги инфраструктуры для отдыха.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Lí­nea de ferrocarril de Semmering

Construida entre 1848 y 1854 a lo largo de 41 kilómetros de terreno montañoso, la lí­nea ferroviaria de Semmering representa una de las mayores proezas de la ingenierí­a civil en los primeros tiempos de la construcción de ví­as férreas. Debido a la solidez de sus túneles, viaductos y otras obras de ingenierí­a, la lí­nea se ha seguido utilizando sin interrupción hasta nuestros dí­as. El ferrocarril atraviesa un espectacular paisaje montañoso, donde se han podido construir numerosos edificios de gran calidad arquitectónica destinados a actividades recreativas, desde que la región quedó comunicada gracias a este medio de transporte.

source: UNESCO/ERI

ゼメリング鉄道

source: NFUAJ

De Semmering-spoorlijn

De Semmering-spoorlijn werd tussen 1848 en 1854 gebouwd en loopt over 41 km van hoge bergen. De spoorweg is een van de grootste prestaties op het gebied van civiele techniek uit de pioniersfase van de spoorwegbouw. De hoge standaard waaraan de tunnels, viaducten en andere werken moesten voldoen, heeft ervoor gezorgd dat de spoorweg continue in gebruik is geweest en nog steeds is. De Semmering-spoorlijn gaat door een spectaculair berglandschap. Door de spoorweg werden de prachtige natuurgebieden gemakkelijk toegankelijk en konden woon- en recreatiegebieden worden ontwikkeld. Met het ontstaan van het spoor ontstond dus een nieuwe vorm van cultureel landschap.

Source: unesco.nl

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
Semmering Railway © OUR PLACE
Justification for Inscription

Criterion (ii): The Semmering Railway represents an outstanding technological solution to a major physical problem in the construction of early railways.

Criterion (iv): With the construction of the Semmering Railway, areas of great natural beauty became more easily accessible and as a result these were developed for residential and recreational use, creating a new form of cultural landscape.

Long Description

The Semmering Railway represents an outstanding technological solution to a major physical problem in the construction of early railways. The railway, built over 41 km of high mountains between 1848 and 1854, is one of the greatest feats of civil engineering from this pioneering phase of railway building. The high standard of the tunnels, viaducts and other works has ensured the continuous use of the line to the present day. Furthermore, with its construction, areas of great natural beauty became more easily accessible and as a result these were developed for residential and recreational use, creating a new form of cultural landscape.

The transport route from the valley of the Mürz to the Vienna Depression has been used since prehistoric times. In the Middle Ages it was considered to be one of the few secure Alpine crossings. Transport was possible using pack animals and wagons drawn by oxen, and it had become one of the most important international land routes from Venice by the 12th century. However, the Semmering had lost much of its trade by the 15th century owing to the opening up of the Brenner and Radstatter Trauem routes further south. In 1728 the Emperor Karl Vl ordered it to be improved as both a commercial and a military road, joining Austria with Trieste rather than Venice (hence its name, the Trieste Route).

The first railway line (horse-drawn) of any significance on the European continent was opened in 1824-32 between Linz and Budweis (České Budejovice), and 1837 saw the installation of the locomotive-hauled line between Florisdorf and Deutsche Wagram. The southbound Vienna-Gloggnitz line opened in 1841 and the section from Mürzzuschlag to Graz was added in 1844, leaving a gap over the difficult Semmering stretch. The line was later extended southwards to Cilli in 1846, Laibach (Ljubljana) in 1849, and finally, over difficult karst terrain, to Trieste in 1857.

Most of the portals of the tunnels are simple but monumental in design, and are variously ornamented. Support structures are largely in stone, but brick was used for the arches of the viaducts and tunnel facings. The 57 two-storey attendants' houses, sited at approximately 700 m intervals, that are a very characteristic feature of the Semmering line, were built from coursed rubble masonry with brick trimmings. Little remains of the original stations, which were planned originally as no more than relay stations and watering points, but later became converted into more impressive structures as tourist traffic increased.

The appearance of the whole line was significantly changed between 1957 and 1959, when masts were erected to carry the contact wires needed by the conversion to electrical locomotives. The Semmering pass itself is well known for the 'summer architecture' of the villas and hotels that were built for Viennese society between Gloggnitz and the small market town of Schottwien in picturesque locations. It became one of the first artificially laid out Alpine resorts in the decades following the opening of the railway line. This process had begun even before that project began, with the development of Reichenau an der Rax and Payerbach, to the north-west of Gloggnitz, as tourist areas in the early decades of the 19th century.

Romantic historicism influenced the appearance of the villas and hotels built in this area, a number of which have Gothic or Renaissance antecedents. The steep-gabled and fantastically ornate 'Swiss chalet' also found favour with many builders. The Semmering pass itself was not affected by tourist development for some time after the line opened in 1854. The Southern Railway Company, operators of the line at that time, began development in 1880, at the urging of the court sculptor, Franz Schönthaler, with the construction of the Semmering Hotel. It was, however, Schönthaler's own villa south of the hotel that had the strongest influence on architectural design along the Semmering line. The use of traditional Alpine wooden-frame construction by his architect, Franz von Neumann, was eagerly seized upon by other patrons, and the 'Semmering style' predominated in the buildings erected in the latter part of the 19th century.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The transport route from the valley of the Miirz to the Vienna Depression has been used since prehistoric times. In the Middle Ages it was considered to be one of the few secure Alpine crossings. Transport was possible using pack animals and wagons drawn by oxen. It had become one of the most important international land routes from Venice by the 12th century. However, the Semmering had lost much of its trade by the 15th century owing to the opening up of the Brenner and Radstatter Trauem routes further south. In 1728 the Emperor Karl VI ordered it to be improved as both a commercial and a military road, joining Austria with Trieste rather than Venice, hence its name, the "Trieste Route." In 1841 the steep northern approach was relaid, reducing the gradient by some 5%. The new accessibility of the region brought artists and poets there, to admire the wild scenery, as well as attracting considerable commercial traffic, as the Industrial Revolution developed in the region.


The first railway line (horse-drawn) of any significance on the European continent was opened in 1824-32 between Linz and Budweis (Cesk6 Budejovice) and 1837 saw the installation of the locomotive-hauled line between Florisdorf and Deutsche Wagram. The southbound Vienna-Gloggnitz line opened in 1841 and the section from Miirzzuschlag to Graz was added in 1844, leaving a gap over the difficult Semmering stretch. The line was later extended southwards to Cilli in 1846, Laibach (Ljubljana) in 1849, and finally, over difficult karst terrain, to Trieste in 1857.


The first plan for crossing the Sernmering, involving a 1 :30 gradient, was drawn up in 1841 but not followed up for technical reasons. The project was taken up again in 1842, when Carlo Ghega was appointed Chief Inspector for the southern line, linking Vienna and Trieste. He began by visiting the USA, where he studied 39 railway lines covering 2413km. This showed him that the technical difficulties seen in the first plan were not insuperable, and he began to survey possible routes over the Semmering. Since no reliable maps were available, he had to carry out a complete survey of the area; the difficult terrain led him to develop new surveying instruments, notably the Stampfer'sche Nivellier-Hohen- und Liingenmessinstrument, used to measure height and distance, which was to become an important tool in geodetics.


He worked out several routes before settling on one in 1846. It was 42km long, with 22 major bridges and viaducts and a tunnel 1200m long, situated just below the pass; although not the simplest route, it was the most feasible in the light of the technological limitations of the day, notably the lack of powerful explosives for tunnelling. His project plan was completed in 1847, but work did not start immediately, because Ghega was engaged in the construction of the line between Cilli and Laibach.


His project met with considerable opposition , but it was accepted in June 1848 by the new Minister for Public Works, Andreas Baumgartner, who wanted projects offering substantial long-term employment prospects. Despite a storm of protest, from both specialists and the press, work began in August 1848. The entire stretch of line was divided into fourteen sections, each of which was entrusted to a separate firm. At the start 1007 men and 414 women were employed, to increase to over 20,000 as the work progressed.


The maximum gradient of 1 :25 and the exceptionally small radius curves called for a new type of locomotive, and four firms entered a public competition in 1850. None of the entries was considered to be suitable for production in series, although they met the technical requirements, and so Wilhelm von Eggerth was commissioned to combine the best features of all of them in a new design. The result was triumphantly successful and• 26 engines were immediately commissioned.


Construction work on the line and the manufacture of locomotives and rolling stock progressed well, with the result that the transport of passengers and goods over the line was able to start, on schedule, on 17 July 1854.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation