Prater Liliputbahn

Vienna, Austria

Prater Liliputbahn

The Prater Liliputbahn is a 381 mm (15 in) gauge light railway in Vienna, Austria. Opened in 1928, and extended in 1933, the railway operates primarily as a tourist attraction, but also provides transport links around the wider area of the Prater park, the amusement park (Wurstelprater), and the sports stadium. Although a year-round service was provided for many years, it is now more common for the railway to close during the months of December, January, and February. Originally steam-operated, the railway now uses a mixture of steam and diesel motive power. The railway can be reached by bus, tram, or metro from central Vienna, followed by a short walk, but following the extension of tram line 1, there is now an almost direct interchange with the Vienna tram network at the railway's Rotunda Station.

Opened on 1 May 1928, the line runs for almost 4 kilometres (2.5┬ámi) around the Prater park, an extensive public recreation area in the Austrian capital. A celebration of the centenary of the death of composer Franz Schubert occasioned the original construction of the railway. At its opening it ran for 2 kilometres (1.2┬ámi) to the current Rotunda Station. A design of 15┬áin (381┬ámm) gauge locomotive was drawn up in 1923 by Chief Engineer Martens of the Munich-based Krauss and Company engineering company, based on a German 1,435┬ámm (4┬áft┬á8+1Ôüä2┬áin) standard gauge 4-6-2 design, and 20 of these locomotives were built between 1925 and 1950. Three from the second batch were ordered for the Prater Liliputbahn, and two were delivered, and are still operating there today; the order for the third engine was cancelled. The railway was extended in 1933, almost doubling its length. The full running line of 3.95 kilometres is marked throughout at 100-metre intervals with white-painted stone mileposts.

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