Austria is an interesting mountainous country wedged between the western European countries of Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. It also borders on the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia.
Mountainous territories offer lots of technical challenge to railroad designers, as well as a high degree of danger to those who work on rail routes. Of course, it is this difficult landscape which produces the most awe inspiring views from the window of a train car (see the Austria Relief Map below).
The three scenic rail routes described in these pages were first built in the mid 1800s, a pioneering phase of railroad construction, and represent some of the greatest feats of civil engineering of their time.
Two of the scenic routes, the Semmering and the narrow guage Mariazellerbahn are in eastern Austria near Vienna, the third, Arlberg, is found in western Austria near Innsbruck. The routes offer fine opportunities for hiking in the summer and skiing in the Winter.