Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway

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Inscription: Kaiser Ferdinand Nordbahn on the Main Rail Station in Bielsko-Biała

The Emperor Ferdinand Northern Railway (German: Kaiser Ferdinands-Nordbahn, KFNB; Czech: Severní dráha císaře Ferdinanda, SDCF) was the name of a former railway company during the time of the Austrian Empire. Its main line was supposed to connect Vienna with salt mines in Bochnia near Kraków. Today, the term is still used to describe certain railway lines which were formerly operated by that company.


The Nordbahn, or Kaiser Ferdinands-Nordbahn, was Austria's first steam railway company and financed by Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (1774-1855). The first track was built between Floridsdorf and Deutsch Wagram in 1837. The extension to Vienna was built in 1838, and the track through Břeclav (Lundenburg) to Brünn in 1839. The first train from Vienna arrived to Břeclav on 6. June 1839. In 1841 it reached Přerov (Prerau) and Olomouc(Olmütz) and in 1842 Lipník nad Bečvou(Leipnik). Extension to Ostrava(Ostrau) and Bohumín(Oderberg) was finished in 1847. Nordbahn never directly reached Kraków(Krakau) or Bochnia. The first way to Kraków on rails via Bogumin (Oderberg), Kozle (Kosel), and Mysłowice (Myslowitz) was served by the Prussian lines of Wilhelmsbahn and Upper Silesian Railway (Oberschlesische Bahn). The line from Mysłowice to Kraków was built by the Krákow and Upper Silesia Railway (Kolej Krakowsko-Górnośląska / Krakau-Oberschlesische Bahn). An intern Austrian rail route from Vienna to Kraków did not exist, before in 1856 the Austrian Eastern National Railway (k.k. Östliche Staatsbahn), descender of the Krákow and Upper Silesian, opened a branch form Trzebinia via Oświęcim to Dziedzice, where it met the Northern Railway.

The Northern Railway company was nationalized in 1907. It also owned many coal mines and other industry enterprises in Ostrava region. After the nationalization of its railway network, it continued its coal and industry businesses.

The k.k. Nordbahnhof (Vienna North railway station; today Wien Praterstern railway station) was destroyed in World War II and rebuilt in 1962 along with the bridge across the Danube. Today, the express trains going from Vienna to Brno leave from Wien Meidling railway station. Praterstern Station is only used for suburban and regional train lines.

Lines built by Nordbahn lying in today's Austria, Czech Republic, and Poland up to 1856 [1][edit]

Railways in Germany and Neighbouring Countries in 1849; bold lines = working, narrow lines = projected or in construction

Rolling stock[edit]

Steam locomotive of the first period (1837–1842)[edit]

Steam locomotive of the second period (1844–1906)[edit]


The Northern Railway was recently selected as the main motif of a very high value collectors' coin: the Austrian Emperor Ferdinand's North Railway commemorative coin, minted on June 13, 2007. The reverse side depicts a scene of the "Ajax" steam locomotive crossing the bridge over the Danube on the first public run from the North Railway Station in Vienna to Deutsch-Wagram on January 6, 1838. It caused quite a sensation, so it was watched and cheered by crowds of Viennese along its route.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Town names are indicated as of today.

External links[edit]