The Achensee Railway

Achenseebahn Railway, AustriaThe Achenseebahn train service between Jenbach to Seespitz serves as a major regional tourist attraction as well as part of the transport network.

Rail enthusiasts know it is the oldest steam cog railway in Europe and that Jenbach railway station is the only Austrian stop which uses three different rail gauges. (The main Inn valley service and the Zillertalbahn to Mayrhofen connect here.)

Other visitors to the lake will simply enjoy the sights and smells of the 7km ride, climbing 450m from the valley floor through woods and fields to the lakeside.

The planning and construction took place in the late 18th century. Residents of the lakeside villages were originally sceptical about the railway, but the Abbot of Fiecht monastery (the owner of the lake and the ferry service) pushed for the development to go ahead. In fact, a more extensive original project planned a service into Germany to link the Achensee and Tegernsee lakes.

The railway opened in 1889, 400m short of the Seespitz ferry station but extended to the current station building and ferry stop in 1929. In those days, the train transported goods as well as people.

The rail service remains steam-powered and is a mix of cog and traditional railway. The cog section climbs from the Inn valley, followed by usual train service from Eben.

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The Achensee train runs in the summer months, with a restricted service in early May and late October and early November. The steam train is popular in high season, with bus groups reserving individual carriages.

The Achensee Erlebniscard includes unlimited use of the Achenseebahn train, the lake ferry, the Rofan cable car and the Karwendel gondola. This is a special ticket available only to guests staying in the lakeside villages.

Achenseebahn: www.achenseebahn.at