Saturday, September 25, 2010

World's Oldest Railway

Built in, what, early 19th Century, you think? Very late 18th?

Ha! You got lost in the steam, I'll bet. Try 1504; or maybe 1495, And not on the flat and level. Not even in a straight line!

It's the Reiszug, an inclined plane serving a castle in Austria -- and it's still there. Still works, too.

The thing probably started out as a simple sledge and a sort of wooden slide with a windlass at the top. There's uncertainly when rails were added, which is where the "1504 or 1495" comes in, and the stationary "engine" was originally men, later beast, eventually steam and finally electricity.

Say what you will, it's a helluva way to run a railroad.


phlegmfatale said...

This is SO nifty!

Ken said...

I was in Salzburg in 'seventy and seven, as a high school twerp unleashed on Western Europe with a passel of other like critters (heartfelt thanks to my parents, various fundraiser contributors, my German teacher Mrs. Foraker, and the American Institute for Foreign Studies).

I think we toured Fortress Hohensalzburg, maybe. Some of those scenes look hauntingly familiar. Salzburg was an energetic place back then. Don't know what it's like now. Quite different from Vienna (my two favorite stops on the tour).