Gresten Austrian HOe narrow gauge layout

Gauge: HOe | Period: 1985-1990 | Region: Austria | Operating team: Malcolm Rochford and friends

Gresten in HOe gauge by Malcolm Rochford.

ST POLTEN is a large town situated about half way between Salzburg and Vienna. A 91km electrified narrow gauge line left the main line and stretched due south into the mountains to the pilgrimage centre of Mariazell. A non-electrified branch left the Mariazellerbahn at Obergrafendorf ending at Gresten, 63km away.

The town of Wieselburg marks the mid-point of the line and here it crosses a standard gauge line from Pochlarn to Kienburg-Gaming. This provides a second freight exchange point with the narrow gauge (the other being at St Polten).

The narrow gauge 'HOe' ('HO' scale models running on 9mm gauge track) layout is set in the period 1985 to early 1990, and shows standard gauge wagon being transported on narrow gauge rollwagons. Although passenger figures remained fairly static during this period, freight was growing rapidly mainly due to the large engineering firm of Welser A.G. at Gresten and a large timber yard at Randegg 4km away.

About this time, the OGLB (a national preservation group) had taken over the old roundhouse at Obergrafendorf, where the Gresten line joins the Mariazellerbahn. This shed now houses the National Collection of narrow gauge locomotives which regularly appear on enthusiasts' specials. The layout is operated according to standard Austrian practices - see it Model World LIVE at the NEC in Birmingham on April 27/28 2024.

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