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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.
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).
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.