Information & history

An enchanting railway line along the Danube with more than 100 years of history.

The Wachau Railway plays an important role in the new, multi-mode traffic concept for the Wachau region. In the high season tourists and day trippers are brought by rail to the greatest attractions in the region between Krems and Emmersdorf. In close cooperation with ferries, shipping companies, cycle hire, e-mobility offers, bus services and tourist organisations the Wachau Railway has become a major tourist factor in the World Cultural Heritage region.

The operation of the line by the State of Lower Austria guarantees that the required means of renovation and business are available. The infrastructure of the railway route is continually improved by State funding, so that in the future a high-quality tourist service can be offered.

History of the Wachau Railway

  • The original plan was to build a railway line from Vienna westwards along the Danube and from Stockerau on the left bank of the Danube via Krems to Linz. This plan, however, was rejected. A railway line was built through the Wienerwald, the Empress Elisabeth Line (today: Westbahn), which opened in 1858.
  • From 1872 to 1956, the fare stage from Sankt Valentin to Mauthausen was part of the Summerau Railway, which in the first years after its construction formed part of the Empress Elisabeth Line route network.
  • The Mauthausen-Grein local railway originated in 1897 and in the following years the railway line to Krems was extended and transferred to public service in 1909. There was a connection to the Franz-Josefs Station in Vienna through the route to Absdorf-Hippersdorf, which had existed since 1872.
  • In 1930 the Mauthausen-Grein and Krems-Grein local railways were nationalised and in 1939 amalgamated with Deutsche Reichsbahn. After the Second World War the State-owned company, Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB) became the owner of the railway lines.
  • In 1998 the railway line was placed under protection. It is part of the Wachau Cultural Landscape, which in 2000 was included in the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage sites.
  • Up to 2009 the Donauufer Railway line was serviced in summer by both the tourist experience trains, Wachau and Strudengau; these were the last trains remaining on the entire route and the only passenger trains on the route between Emmersdorf an der Donau and Sarmingstein.
  • In January 2010 the ÖBB relinquished this railway route and the State of Lower Austria agreed to take over the Wachau Railway. The scheduled service ceased on the timetable change on 12 December 2010 over the entire route and was replaced by buses.
  • On 16 April 2011 NÖVOG took over the Wachau Railway tourist and nostalgia service on the 34-kilometre long fare stage between Krems and Emmersdorf. In 2011 and 2012 NÖVOG invested in rails, vehicles and infrastructure. The high-quality full programme for the Wachau Railway started up in 2012.