The first public railway in Austria was also the first in continental Europe. This was a 129 km horse drawn line from Budweis (České Budĕjovice in the present day Czech Republic) to Linz, built to the very unusual gauge of 1106mm. It opened in 1832, and was extended 4 years later to Gmunden, nearly doubling its length. A small part of the line has been restored as a working museum.
However, the first line that was destined to become part of the modern network was a steam hauled, standard (1435mm) gauge line, opened in 1837 between Floridsdorf (near Vienna) to Deutsch Wagram, a distance of 13km. Even in the days of the Empire, railways in Austria were heavily influenced by German practice, and this remains evident to the present day. On the dissolution of the Empire following the First World War, the network took on more or less its present shape.
The State owned railway company remains the primary main line operator for passenger and freight. However, there are a number of independent operators, as well as minor railways, which are in private hands. Start collecting great Railway film DVD Sets with Daves Railway Films.
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