Donnerstag, 27. Oktober 2016

  • Pressemitteilung BoxID 155068

"The Mendel Railway"

(lifePR) (Wien, ) The Mendel (Mendola) Railway was once not only the first electric funicular railway in Austria, it was also the steepest of its kind in continental Europe and the longest in the world.

The Mendel Railway runs from St. Anton (Kaltern in South Tyrol) up to the Mendel Pass (in Italian "Passo della Mendola"; a mountain pass southwest of Bozen/Bolzano, the lowest point of the Mendel Ridge that runs parallel to the Etsch/Adige Valley, between the Penegal (1737 m) to the north and the Roen (2116 m) to the south). Initially, the railway consisted of two sections, with the line from Kaltern to St Anton together with today's funicular being referred to as the Mendel Railway. The former was closed in 1963, together with the Transadige Railway. Today, the twelve-minute 2,370 metre journey overcomes an altitude difference of just over 850 metres, beginning at 510 metres and rising steeply to 1,364 metres. The gradient varies between 57 and a breathtaking 64 percent.

The Mendel Railway officially began operations on 19 October 1903, and its most prominent passenger was no less a figure than Emperor Franz Josef, on his way to the major military manoeuvres in Nonstag in 1905. From 1916, the railway was restricted to military use. After South Tyrol was annexed by Italy, it was frequented by fewer and fewer Austrian passengers, particularly those from the higher social circles, and as a result there was a substantial decline in the Mendel's role as a climatic spa for the "upper circles". A remarkable fact however is that the railway survived despite the construction of the road. While the adhesion railway section was abandoned in 1963 together with the Transadige Railway, the funicular continued in operation. It was closed in 1983 for safety reasons, but was reopened five years later, in 1988, with modern rolling stock.

Today the "SAD Nahverkehr AG" operates the Mendel Railway, alongside numerous local bus routes and the Vinschger Railway, the Rittner Cable Railway and the Rittner Railway proper. The Mendel Railway way equipped with new carriages at the beginning of last year, and in August 2009 a new station was opened half-way along the route, enabling hikers on the popular Kalterer Mountain Trail to use the railway.

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