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Mariazell Railway

Crossing one of the most remote regions of the Austrian Alps, the popular Mariazell Railway negotiates the dramatic scenery through many different feats of engineering - here several spiralling curves and short tunnels help the electric-powered trains make the fantastic journey through the mountains.

Our journey on the narrow-gauge line begins in St Polten, the capital of Lower Austria. On departing the town, the scenery quickly becomes wilder as we run into the undulating foothills of the Alps. Before long the line runs into the Pielach Valley, where lush forests line the sloping hillsides running down to the Pielach River. From here the Mariazell Railway begins a long and continuous ascent, passing through a scattering of pretty villages filled with classic Austrian architecture. At this stage of the journey, the railway utilises a series of bridges and horseshoe curves to climb higher, soon reaching the peak of the route. On emerging from the Gösing Tunnel, the line offers a fabulous panorama of the spectacular landscape below. Our train then begins to descend, passing over the Saugraben Viaduct and skirting along the edge of Lake Lassing. After reaching flatter ground, the railway runs alongside the Zinken Gorge before reaching Mariazell, from which it takes its name. The pilgrimage site has been a celebrated tourist destination for centuries.

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Luke Simpson
Helen Laverack
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