Thursday, September 4, 2014

Train Rides 2014 - Vienna to Salzburg

Date of travel: 12th April 2014

It's time to continue and finish off my Europe travelogue of which last entry was made on 22 July 2014. So far, I have written about the following cities:-

The next city in our itinerary was to Salzburg where we took OBB train, Railjet 662 from Vienna to reach Salzburg within the same afternoon. The railjet, i.e. the fast train was taking us to our next destination for less than 3 hours.

Main cities in Austria is served by comprehensive rail connections, with frequent east-west trains serving Vienna, Munich, Innsbruck, and Zurich, including daily high-speed ICE services. The city acts as a hub for south-bound trains through the Alps into Italy. In Salzburg city, trolleybus system and bus system with a total of more than 20 lines service the public for every 10 minutes. Salzburg has an S-Bahn system with four Lines (S1, S2, S3, S11), trains depart from the main station every 30 minutes, and they are part of the OBB network. Suburb line number S1 reaches the world famous Silent Night chapel in Oberndorf in about 25 minutes.

A photo snapped inside the taxi showing a unique building of Vienna Train Station or famously called as Wien West Bahnhof, with OBB logo
The train we took that day from Vienna to Salzburg, railjet 662

I have mentioned in earlier entry (Train Rides 2014 - Budapest to Vienna) that the Railjet is a high-speed train of the Austrian Federal Railways (OBB), which operates at speeds of up to 230 km/h. The railjet is the premier service of the OBB and operates both domestically within Austria and on international services to adjacent countries. We were excited to spend our Sunday weekend in a hill plateau of Salzburg, best known for its Snow Cap Mountain and green green grass.

OBB opted for locomotive-hauled push-pull high-speed trains, which could be hauled by its existing fleet of Taurus high-speed Siemens EuroSprinter electric locomotives. On 9 February 2006, Siemens was awarded a contract to build 23 sets of 7-coach trains, with the Siemens design viewed to be the best at the best lowest price. In September 2007 Siemens received an additional order for 44 more Railjet trains from the Austrian Federal Railways. The total value of the order was €798 million for 469 passenger carriages. Recently, OBB took up an option for a remaining 9 railjets fom Siemens.

The journey time between Salzburg and Vienna is 2 hours and 20 minutes following the completion of the track improvement works on the Westbahn, at a running speeds between 200–230 km/h (120–140 mph). Railjet trains have 3 levels of service; economy, business and premium classes. Ours was on economy class due to a short distance travelling.

All luggages belong to our group, properly stack up at a dedicated luggage area

Monitor track showing train's speed and the map locater

Premium class has the highest level of service, premium seating for 16 premium passengers is located in the front part of the control car at the opposite end of the train to the locomotive. The seating plan is in an 'open compartments' style intended to be a considerable improvement over previous first class accommodation. Business class seating occupies the remainder of the control car, the second coach and half of the third coach which also contains spaces and facilities for wheel chair users. There’s restaurant in the third coach, which we did not had a chance to visit.

Apart from a technical details of the Railjet and the OBB, our experience in the Railjet 662 was very pleasant as a short distance train allows us a relax journey without any hassle with the immigration. In addition, travelling between western Europe cities, crossing borders are with freedom. We noticed that there's no immigration stop once we entered Austria from Budapest till we reach Paris. We had the train stamped logo at the immigration check point at Paris Gara de Nord and London St Pancras when we took a day trip with Eurostar to London from Paris.

Our coach was quite empty especially after passing so many cities from Vienna to Salzburg. When we passed Innsbruck, my thought goes to a nice lady that we met on the rides from Budapest to Vienna. We could see how great is her life enjoying a countryside of Austria in her village home. I could picture  how she cycles on the green sight plateau. My sister, Rosnani views that the European who occupies this area are quite fortunate to have a lovely house on the green plateau which looks so clean and so peaceful. My husband uttered almost the same thing when the snow capped of Kullu-Manali in Himachamal Pradesh was within our reach. How wonderful would it be if we could have a snow cap mountain at our back yard.... 

There's still light when we reached Salzburg that day. The weather was below than 12 degree. After posing few photos, we straightaway approached the next available cab to take us to the hotel. Salrzburg is very very much quite and less crowded as compared with Vienna. Within 10 minutes, we have reached our pre-book hotel. We had dinner on our own and it was a good rest that night too in a comfortable hotel room.

Let us see our place of interest for tomorrow's entry. Ciao....

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