The Reisszug (also spelt Reißzug or Reiszug) is a private cable railway providing goods access to the Hohensalzburg Castle at Salzburg in Austria. It is notable for its extreme age, as it is believed to date back to either 1495 or 1504.

The Hohensalzburg Castle, with the lower route of the Reiszug picked out by two parallel vertical walls, whilst the gateways on the upper route can just be seen
TypeCable railway
LocaleSalzburg, Austria
Coordinates47.795388°N 13.050162°E / 47.795388; 13.050162
TerminiNonnberg (lower station)
Festung (upper station)
Openedc. 1500
Line length191 metres (627 ft)
Track gauge1,300 mm (4 ft 3 316 in)
Maximum incline67%

The Reisszug should not be confused with the Festungsbahn, a funicular that provides public access to the Hohensalzburg Castle, and which dates from 1892.[1]


The line was first documented in 1515 by Matthäus Cardinal Lang, who would later become Archbishop of Salzburg. These dates would make it the oldest cable railway still in existence, and possibly the oldest existing railway. It has been claimed as the oldest funicular railway, although in the absence of evidence that it ever used a counterweight, this is debatable.[1][2][3]

The Reisszug still traces its original route through the castle's fortifications. It starts from the grounds of the Nonnberg Abbey, below the eastern walls of the castle. It then rises up at a gradient of 65% to the central courtyard of the fortress, on its way passing through five concentric defensive walls. At the point where the line passes through each wall is a gateway, each of which can be closed by a sturdy wooden door. The presence and obvious age of the gateways serves to confirm Cardinal Lang's description of the line.[3][4]

The line may have originally used sled-style runners, but wooden rails and wheels were soon adopted. Haulage was accomplished by a hemp rope. Until 1910 the line was operated by human or animal power. Over the years the line has been modified and rebuilt several times, most recently between 1988 and 1990. Today it uses steel rails and a steel cable. Traction is provided by an electric motor, and a closed circuit television system is used to monitor its operation.[3][4][5]

Technical parameters

Hohensalzburg Fortress
Hohensalzburg Fortress


In its current incarnation, the line has the following technical parameters:[2][4]

Configuration Single track
Mode of operation Manual
Length 190 metres (620 ft)
Height 80 metres (260 ft)
Maximum Steepness 67%
Stations: 2 Nonnberg (47.795571°N 13.050654°E / 47.795571; 13.050654, lower)
Festung (47.795817°N 13.048546°E / 47.795817; 13.048546, upper)
Cars 1
Capacity 3 passengers/2,500 kilograms (5,500 lb)
Gauge 1,300 mm (4 ft 3 316 in)
Maximum speed 0.5 metres per second (1.6 ft/s)
Journey time 5 minutes 45 seconds
Traction Electricity

See also


  1. "Der Reiszug - Part 1 - Presentation". Funimag. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  2. "Der Reiszug". Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  3. Kriechbaum, Reinhard (2004-05-15). "Die große Reise auf den Berg". der Tagespost (in German). Archived from the original on 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  4. "Der Reiszug - Part 2 - History and Description". Funimag. Retrieved 2009-04-22.
  5. "Reiszug zu Salzburg" (in German). Retrieved 2009-04-24.
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