Monday, October 12, 2015

A Day Trip to Salzburg

After noodling around in Vienna for a few days, we took a day trip to Salzburg. Trains to Salzburg leave from the Wien Westbahnhof. This is a major train station, with trains to Salzburg, Munich, Frankfurt, Zurich, Moscow, Budapest, Bucharest, and Belgrade... I've visited or lived in four of those cities!

We walked to the Stephansplatz station and took the U3 subway to Westbahnhof. 
U-Bahn interior in Vienna

The station was quite busy and there appeared to be a lot of Syrian refugees around. They were trying to get to Germany but the border between Austria and Germany had been closed to refugees for a few days, so they were in Austria trying to find a way to continue on.

I can't say a whole lot about the Syrian refugee crisis, except that it's terrible that so many people have been displaced because of the civil war and the ISIS situation. Europe is being profoundly disrupted by the refugee influx. We were a bit concerned about how it might affect our vacation, but fortunately it was not an issue for us. I met an American family in Salzburg that were trying to get to Munich to fly home, but had been turned back, along with a train load of refugees, when the border was closed.

We had decided to take the WESTbahn train to Salzburg. There are ÖBB trains as well, but the WESTbahn train is more comfortable and has free wifi!

Our train wasn't in the station when we arrived, so I wandered around photographing the trains that were there.
The ÖBB 4020 class (3 car electrical multiple unit) is used on regional rail routes

The Railjet, the premiere ÖBB train type

City Shuttle double-decker cars with a weasel icon
Our WESTbahn train arrived and we boarded. You buy your ticket on the train and we used our credit card. As we rolled out of the station I took some photos out the window with my iPhone. The quality was... meh.
An ÖBB diesel!

I liked the look of this locomotive with the Austrian flag colours
As I mentioned in my last post, the rolling stock is quite different in Austria (and Europe in general).

After a while, I switched to my Canon camera to get better quality. It was still challenging because I was not on the sun side, and there really wasn't any sun anyway.

Open autoracks... no longer in North America!

The Salzburg Roundhouse

Entering Salzburg, we passed the roundhouse in the yard. Fortunately I was on the correct side of the train to catch a glimpse of it.
Salzburg's roundhouse in the distance on the left

Looking into the Salzburg roundhouse

The roundhouse is quite large - I count 16 stalls from the Google satellite view.


After we disembarked at the Salzburg train station, I took a photo of our WESTbahn train.
WESTbahn train in Salzburg
These trains are Stadler "KISS" (komfortabler innovativer spurtstarker S-Bahn-Zug) bilevel trains consisting of 6 coaches, capable of travel up to 200 km/hr. You can take a virtual tour of the train. They are very comfortable and the wifi worked well.

If you're any kind of The Sound of Music fan, you may know that some parts of the film were shot in Salzburg. There are many themed tours of the town's different shooting locales. We're not really "tour people" so we didn't take any of those, but we did go see the fountain from the latter half of the Do-Re-Mi song.

From the movie
Our photo
We wandered around the town for a while. There was some kind of festival going on, the Salzburger Rupertikirtag. This commemorates the consecration of the first Salzburg cathedral on September 24, 774 - yes, 774. There was a midway set up with rides, lots of people were wearing lederhosen and dirndl, and there were a lot of booths selling food and knickknacks. I bought a hat!

A very fine hat, I might add
It's a lovely city.
It came time to walk back to the train station and head back to Vienna. Outside the train station, the Red Cross had set up aid stations for the refugees.
Red Cross aid for Syrian refugees in Salzburg
A section of the train station was barricaded off by a line of military personnel, presumably to contain the refugees in one area while they waited to continue to their final destination.

We boarded our train, ready to head back to Vienna.
The WESTbahn ready to leave Salzburg

Here's the head end of the train in Salzburg:
Ready to roll!
It grew dark very soon after we started for Vienna, so I took no more pictures that night.

Thanks for coming along with our day trip to Salzburg, Austria. Next up, traveling to the Czech Republic by train!

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