It's that time of year again when people will be preparing to head off on their annual summer holiday.
Airports all across the UK are already packed with Brits heading to the popular destinations of Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey to soak some much-needed sun. Some even embark on long-awaited trips to the likes of Australia, US and Asia to get a once-in-a-lifetime experience but for railway enthusiasts one country is an absolute must – Austria.
The country is not normally the first destination that springs to mind when planning a holiday but it has so much to offer not just for railway enthusiasts but for tourists in general. People can start their trip from London St Pancras and then travel through the French countryside, marvel at the sights of Germany and Switzerland before arriving in Austria.
From here people can travel into the Austrian mountains and will be blown away by the majesty of the country's scenery. For railway enthusiasts here is just a selection of what there is to enjoy while holidaying in Austria.
Austria Yesteryear by Steam – October 2014
RailTrail runs an extensive six-day tour of Austria's steam heritage setting off from London this October. This trip allows people to see the majesty of the country's countryside and mountain range while also learning the nation's love of all things steam.
Starting from Karlsruhe is Germany, the trip passes along the historic steam route which passes through Augsburg, Munich before heading to Salzburg and Linz before arriving at St Polten. The trip takes holidaymakers into the north Styrian Alps and the sacred town of Mariazell while there are also opportunities to visit the capital Vienna.
A highlight of the trip is undoubtedly a scenic rail journey through the UNESCO protected Semmering Pass to Selzthal which takes the famous monastery at Admont as well as trip over the Austrian Alps.
Dedicated steam railways
Austria has an abundance of heritage railways dedicated to steam tours while other main lines, such as the Salzburg Lokalbahn, also sometimes run steam trains depending on the time of year.
The most famous of all these heritage routes is the Mariazellerbahn. Described as "the most beautiful line through the Austrian Alps" this 760mm gauge local railway weaves its way through the countryside then up the mountains where visitors can marvel at the magnificent sights on offer.
OGEG is the premier operator of steam railway excursions across Austria and runs daily services all over the country. The club offers regular trips and charter trains giving holidaymakers the flexibility to tailor their holiday accordingly. The summer is always a busy period for the club so holidaymakers will need to be quick to ensure they get the place they desire.
Over the coming months the company will be hosting numerous events that allow people to explore Austria in a way like never before. People are able to sit back, relax and watch the Alpine countryside simply pass by their window as they are travelling on one of Europe's most picturesque railway routes for hours and hours.