Description

Now Austria’s busiest line, the West Railway connects Vienna to Linz and Salzburg. Built in the 1850s and originally named after one of its first and most celebrated passengers, the Empress Elisabeth Railway is the noble fourth 20 euro silver coin in the historic Austrian Railways series.

On 21 June 1851 the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Bavaria signed a treaty to build a railway line from Vienna via Salzburg to Munich, and also agreed upon an extension from Rosenheim via Kufstein to Innsbruck as well as the continuation of the railroad from Nuremberg via Regensburg and Passau to Linz. First plans were set up at the behest of the industrialist Hermann Dietrich Lindheim (1790–1860), who together with the German businessman Ernst Merck (1811–1863) founded the Kaiserin Elisabeth-Bahn railway company, named after Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

Funded by Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (1774 –1855) and his Creditanstalt, the k.k. privilegierte Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Bahn was changed into a public limited company in 1856. A second state treaty between Austria and Bavaria fixed the line from Vienna to Linz, which was built between 1856 and 1858, and the extensions from Linz to Salzburg and Passau, opened in 1860 and 1861. The KEB was awarded a 90-year-licence to build and operate the railway. The company was nationalized in 1884 and is today operated by the Austrian Federal Railways.

Each coin comes in a case with a numbered certificate of authenticity.

Obverse

Depicts the steam locomotive kkStB 306.01 (developed by Karl Gölsdorf in 1908) crossing a rail bridge on the Empress Elisabeth Railway (now known as the Western Railway).

The line’s proximity to the spectacular Salzkammergut meant that it was much used by Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife to travel to their summer residence in Bad Ischl. At their disposal for this purpose were special court trains that were pulled by the type 306 locomotive.

Engraver: Herbert Wähner

REPUBLIC ÖSTERREICH
20
EURO
H.WÄHNER
LOK kkStB 306
2008

Reverse

Depicts a view of the passenger hall of the first Vienna West railway station. The style of this building was inspired by Romantic Historism. On the right of the coin, the statue of the Empress Elisabeth can be seen. This statue still stands today in the station.

Wien Westbahnhof (Vienna West station) is a major Austrian railway station, the original starting point of the West railway (Westbahn) and a former terminus of international rail services. Built for the western railway (originally called the k.k. privilegierte Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Bahn), the station was designed by the architect Moritz Löhr and opened in 1858. The facility was made up of four sections built in a historical style.

Elisabeth of Bavaria (1837–1898) was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, and many other titles (see Grand title of the Empress of Austria) by marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I at the age of sixteen. The death of her only son Rudolf, and his mistress Mary Vetsera, in a murder–suicide at his hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889 was a blow from which Elisabeth never recovered. She withdrew from court duties and travelled widely, unaccompanied by her family. She was obsessively concerned with maintaining her youthful figure and beauty, which were already legendary during her life. While travelling in Geneva in 1898, she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Elisabeth was the longest serving Empress of Austria at 44 years.

Engraver: Thomas Pesendorfer

KAISERIN–
ELISABETH–
WESTBAHN
TP

Edge

20 Euro

Austrian Railways
Empress Elisabeth Western Railway

Subscribe series
KM# 3154
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Silver
Fineness 0.900
Weight 20 g
Diameter 34 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Mint
Austrian Mint

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