I managed to persuade my parents that I needed to go on the
school skiing trip to Austria, planned for the half-term week
in February 1970 - and, on studying the maps, discovered we
weren't very far from Jenbach, in the Inn valley, home of the
760mm gauge Zillertalbahn. So once we were installed in our
hostel in Niederau, I began the comparatively simple task of
persuading our teachers to let me disappear for a day...
I joined the post bus for the short run down to Wörgl, and
puchased a rückfahrkarte to Mayrhofen, travelling on the main
line personenzug to Jenbach...
..where I had a little time to spend before departure of the
narrow gauge service. I began by snapping a loco-hauled
passenger and a "Trans-Europe Express" set (I
think this may have been a gas-turbine powered
train - anyone out there able to confirm this?).
Transferring my attentions to the narrow gauge,
a diesel loco and some standard gauge wagons
on narrow gauge transporters caught my
attention, before a nice steamy aroma took me
to the running shed - where a rather nice (if
somewhat foreign-looking - it was my first non-
British steam loco!) 0-6-2T was clearly being
prepared for service. 18 months after the end
of steam on British Rail, I had expected the
passenger service to be diesel powered - but
no, I was really in luck. No 2, built in 1900, would haul me up to
Mayrhofen, some 25 miles away, and back. Wonderful!
I returned that evening to my schoolmates feeling very pleased
with myself. And I have a sneaking suspicion that, had I made a
similar request today (as a 17-year-old schoolboy) it would have
been turned down without hesitation or question...
© Geoff’s Rail Diaries 2011