Gmunden is Austria’s smallest and oldest surviving tramway. At 2.3km long it is one of the shortest systems in use anywhere and with a sustained gradient of 9.6% it also incorporates one of the steepest gradients. Developments currently in progress will change the character of the system significantly, as an extension through the town centre will link it to the Traunseebahn to Vorchdorf with through operation using new vehicles. Both lines are operated by the Austrian company Stern und Hafferl.
The line runs from the Hauptbahnhof, where it connects with the train service, to Franz-Josef-Platz. Until 1975 it ran slightly further to Rathausplatz and the new extension will follow the same route.
The fleet comprises just five vehicles, two of which are now considered as heritage vehicles. To avoid repetition in the captions it is better to list each vehicle here, in order of age:
8 was new to the line in 1961 and is the tram most regularly in service. Built by Lohner with Kiepe electrical equipment it has seen little change since new apart from conversion for driver-only operation in 1978.
9 was new in 1952 to Vestische Straßenbahnen as their 347 and was bought by Stern und Hafferl in 1974, finally entering service in Gmunden in 1977. It was built by Düwag and has Kiepe electrical equipment.
10 was new in 1952 to Vestische Straßenbahnen as their 341 and was bought by Stern und Hafferl in 1974, finally entering service in Gmunden in 1983. It was built by Düwag and has Kiepe electrical equipment.
5 was new in 1911 to Gmundner Elektrizitäts-Aktiengesellschaft (GEAG), who owned and operated the line from 1895 after Stern und Hafferl had originally owned, their operation resuming in 1925. It was built at the Grazer Waggonfabrik and has electrical equipment from Siemens-Schuckertwerke. It is now only used for heritage tram operation.
100 was new to the Pöstlingbergbahn in Linz in 1898 and arrived in Gmunden in 1995. It is another vintage tram used for heritage operation but as it is an open-sided vehicle it tends to be used when the weather is better. This vehicle is owned by the town of Gmunden, unlike the rest of the fleet.
© David Beilby