Vienna Tram Day 2011

Vienna Tram Day 2011

Tram Day Vienna 2011 - Vienna Tram Museum

Tram Day Vienna 2011 – Vienna Tram Museum

Vienna’s annual Tram Day celebration was held at the Tram Museum this past September. It’s always a great party with lots to see and do. This year was great because the Tram Museum was open for free! Lots of historic vehicles and exhibits on some of the new things Vienna’s public transport company (Wiener Linien) is doing to improve service.

Historic advertisement providing advice to customers, Vienna Tram Museum (2011).

Historic advertisement providing advice to customers, Vienna Tram Museum (2011).

I especially liked the historic advertisement about why the conductor cannot open the door once it has been closed (right) – it even rhymes!

There was information on everything from the Wiener Linien’s social networking strategy to rebuilding track. With entertainment for the whole family – on at least two different stages! – and lots to eat and drink it was a great day.

More Vienna Tram Day photos on Flickr (from everyone, including me).

The Truman Show – Vienna

The Truman Show – Vienna

One of my favorite movies was The Truman Show, I thought that the plot was quite good, but also enjoyed seeing the new urbanist city Seaside Florida, the movie setting.

Anyway Oliver Hangl, the artistic director of the Vienna Complaining Choir among many other artistic projects, is doing a project this week called Kino im Kopf: Die Truman Show where the audience rides through Vienna on a streetcar (they have headphones for the soundtrack) and people on the street act out scenes from The Truman Show movie. Oliver needed extras so, along with many members of the Complaining Choir helped out. We worked at Lancaster Square (actually the Josefstadterstrasse U-Bahn – Tram stop).

Here’s a photo of the people on the tram enjoying our performance. Our job was to bend down and hold our ears for the 15-seconds while the tram went by. (I had the camera balanced on my leg and just shot, so it’s out of focus). More photos are on my flickr site tagged Truman Show Vienna.

EXTRA: We helped out throughout the week and on Saturday we were in the audience on the tram. The show was great and I took more photos which are also on the flickr site.

It’s going on until Saturday 26 June 2010, highly recommended if you are in Vienna!

Vienna Tram Day 2009

Vienna Tram Day 2009

Wiener Linien Tram Day 12sept09 - 10

Wiener Linien Tram Day 2009

On Saturday the Wiener Linien (Vienna Lines), the city’s public transport operator held its annual open house at the main workshops. It was a nice day and a great party. Here are a few photos.

Inside the railway vehicle maintenance area. The Wiener Linien had set up displays of interesting information (how the new real time passenger information system works, etc) with various types of public transport vehicles interspersed between the displays.

The new Ring Tram was on display. The tram lines that used to run on the Ring (#1 and #2) were recently re-routed so they only go on part of the Ring. The Ring tram is designed for tourists and has information in several languages available on headphones. It has a special (higher) fare, but it’s well worth riding.

What is it about kids (of all ages) and trams?

No Austrian event would be complete without food and drink. Below is my Goulash lunch at the employee cafeteria … not as good as mine, but quite good.

Back to work … here’s a photo of several rail vehicles being maintained. On the left is one of the old trams, on the right (up in the air) is one of the old subway (U-Bahn) cars.

I don’t know how many public transport operators have their own Blues Band, but the Wiener Linien does: the Wiener Linien Blues Band. They were playing Mustang Sally, I don’t know why they didn’t play Tramway Charlie … but maybe next year!

Vienna Tram 49 Reconstruction – Track Fabrication

Vienna Tram 49 Reconstruction – Track Fabrication

Wiener Linien Track Construction Shop


One reason building or rebuilding tram track in cities is difficult is that the track is rarely exactly straight. Also, in cities like Vienna where there are many tram lines there are many places where one set of tracks crosses another and many places where switches are needed.


As these photos show, Westbahnstrasse has examples of all these problems. From left to right: it starts with the Neubaugasse “S” curve as the tracks change from Siebensternstrasse to Westbahnstrasse, then on Westbahnstrasse the tracks shift a little as they head west and at Kaiserstrasse there is a complex intersection with two tram tracks on each street. Check out my video Riding Tram 49 at Night for an impression of riding the line from the Ring to Zieglerstrasse.


Most of the complicated trackwork, like the three examples above, must be made in a workshop with machines that enable rail to be cut into complex shapes, bent into very precise curves and fitted together. Then the finished sections of track are brought to the worksite and welded to the adjoining rails. The big advantage of this approach is that it takes much less time and leads fo much higher quality track. Mainline railroads use the same method: prefabricating complicated track sections, removing the old sections and replacing them with the new ones.

The Wiener Linien has its own workshop for prefabricating track sections. I visited it last year at the Wiener Linien’s annual Tram Day celebration. The photos on this site are all from that visit. All photos are available on my flickr set Westbahnstr Tram Track Renewal and you can click on the photos to see larger versions.

Switch Fabrication

Here is a switch being fabricated in the shop.

Notice the devices pinning the rails in place while the complete structure is being built.

Wiener Linien Gleisbau Dept 12sept09-06

Milling machine.

This machine is milling a block of steel that will be part of a switch (probably a “frog” the point in a switch where the two rails come together).

Wiener Linien Gleisbau Dept 12sept09-12

Track Fabrication Workshop Photos

Wiener Linien Gleisbau Dept 12sept09-08

Wiener Linien Gleisbau Dept 12sept09-14

Wiener Linien Gleisbau Dept 12sept09-13

Since the rails are created for a specific location they are all marked.


Construction on Westbahnstrasse

Another shot showing the track curvature looking down Westbahnstrasse towards Neubaugasse.


Vienna Line 49 Track Rehabilitation

Photo Documentation of Westbahnstrasse Tram Track Rehabilitation (2009)

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