The present commemorative by Austrian post is beyond doubt a philatelic highlight for all railway fans, commemorating as it does the 175th anniversary of “railways for Austria”. The motif of this €0.90 stamp shows the anniversary train branded specially for this occasion, a modern OeBB Railjet.
The 175 years of the history of Austrian rail transport goes back to 1827, when the first section of the horse-drawn railway between Linz and Budweis was opened. The actual birth of the railway in Austria took place on 23 November 1837, when the first train was pulled by the “Austria” steam locomotive along the 13-kilometre line between Floridsdorf and Deutsch Wagram.
However, this round anniversary is not only the occasion for an appropriate review of the varied history; a look towards the future is also of great importance. As a safe, environment-friendly, fast and above all reliable means of transport, the railway will assume an increased function as the backbone of passenger and goods transport.
At present, around 700,000 people use the Austrian railways every day. An extensive investment programme of more than two billion euro each year aims to further develop major rail corridors and modern high- capacity lines, in other words to create even greater climate-friendly mobility in Austria. The ambitious target is “sustainable effects” to make sure that, when the next round anniversary comes along, the railway will be even faster and transport significantly more passengers and freight than it does today.