HomeThe Company History The history in figures

The history of Zillertaler Verkehrsbetriebe AG begins in 1863.


Omnibus operations – a horse-drawn carriage that travelled to Mayrhofen three times a day and where travellers needed to stay overnight in Zell – can no longer keep up with business.


On 25 November 1892 there was a meeting for all the parish councils and highly esteemed personalities from the Valley in ‘Gasthof Bräu’ in Zell am Ziller, where a ‘rail committee’ was formed.


Only much later, on 21 April 1895, the decision was made to build the railway. The rail committee appointed the shareholders Kaspar Schneider, a member of the administration in Zell, Dr. Raimund Rainer from Fügen and the hotelier Franz Prantl from Jenbach as concessionaires


Several projects were considered: Leaving Brixlegg with the rails on the right bank of the Ziller Leaving Jenbach with the rails where they are today Connect to the Krimml Railway via Gerlos. Normal gauge or narrow gauge railway


The necessary authorised capital of 150,000 guilders (today approx. 1.2 million EURO) was raised in July 1898


The concessionaires go through the necessary formalities at the k & k ministry and receive the ‘concession certificate’ from the k & k railway minister Heinrich von Wittek on 2 December 1899.


The ‘Zillerthalbahn Actiengesellschaft’ was established on 26 December 1899.
Narrow gauge (760 mm) was selected for economic and military reasons. In the event of war, it would be possible to use the Zillertalbahn Railway stock in the then occupied territory of Bosnia.


There is no record of a festive first turning of the sod, only the completion dates can be proven.
The railway to Fügen is completed on 20 December 1900 (10.2km).


The first general meeting takes place on 10 February 1901 in Zell am Ziller. The share capital is 843,000 crowns (today approx. 3.5 million Euro).


On 24 February 1901 the railway was extended to Kaltenbach (6.3 km) and on 21 July 1901 to Zell am Ziller (7.9 km). Zell am Ziller was then the last stop for the railway as a further extension to Mayrhofen was not possible for financial reasons – the work on the river caused very high costs.


Only following financial support from the ministry on 31 July 1902 made it possible to extend the route to Mayrhofen (7.3 km).
Zillertalbahn Railway now has two tender locomotives, so-called ‘triple shunters’ by Krauß & Co in Linz, and 10 passenger cabins (310 seats), 2 goods wagons, 10 covered and 10 open goods wagons.
A third steam locomotive is purchased and all debts were paid off!
The railway transported 118,000 people in only its first year of operation.


Business for the railway is so good that the company buys the electricity works and makes plans for electrification. These plans are cancelled and the electricity works are sold again. Now, Zillertalbahn Railway constructs a driving trailer with a diesel engine as the first narrow gauge railway in Austria.


The magnesite mining that began in Tux is the most important foundation for the railway until the magnesite works were closed in 1976. The economic crisis in the 1930s threatens the existence of the railway.


Public bus transportation is introduced between Mayrhofen and Innsbruck.


In a decree by the general meeting on 12 July 1956  "Zillertalbahn AG" changes its name to "Zillertaler Verkehrsbetriebe AG”. 


600,000 people are now transported every year.


In the years 1964 to 1965  a battle begins to save the railway. The railway is to be closed in favour of a road project.


Tauernkraftwerke AG, Salzburg, decides to build the Zemmkraftwerke power stations.

Zillertalbahn Railway took on the transportation of the construction machinery and delivered 325,000 tonnes of cement on time without putting any further strain on the already overloaded road. The purchase of roll-block wagons, new diesel locomotives for the goods trains, the introduction of rail radio, which was unique in Austria and was an example for many other railways, prove that even a small railway was able to do incredible things.


Zillertalbahn Railway opens its own travel agency.


The construction of the storage power station at Zillergrund and the cement transport that was carried out by Zillertalbahn Railway give the railway an additional boost.


The government, Tyrol, the communities in the Zillertal Valley and the community of Jenbach finance their first investment programmes, enabling an improvement and renewal of the route and stock.


A new age of passenger transport begins with the purchase of two new diesel electric driving trailers (VT3 and VT) with driving trailers, four passenger wagons and one service wagon.


Construction of the railway operation works at Jenbach Station.


Application for an extension of the concession until 2009.



Regular service began on 2 June 1991. In place of the previous 8 there are now 13 train pairs operating every hour. The public buses reduce this interval to half an hour. This service increases frequency by 30%.


The steam train is taken out of service and is now only used as a nostalgic slow-train on its own timetable.


Construction of the repair and service workshops for the bus service.
Initial operation VT5 and VT6
Introduction of the Verkehrsverbund Tirol (VVT) for rail and bus


First machine ballast bed processing
initial operation VT7 and VT8


In the 92nd general meeting in August of 1999 it is decided that the shares should be changed to no-par shares and at the same time to convert the nominal capital to Euro. This is now worth EUR 83,400 and is divided into 556 no-par shares.
The crystal wagon, a party wagon for celebrations, is introduced at Landhausplatz in Innsbruck. It is a gift from Zillerbahn to Zillerbahn on the occasion of the upcoming 100-year anniversary.


Wood transports expanded to 440,000 t and thus represent the greatest quantity of goods ever transported on the Zillertalbahn.
Consideration is given to the development of the section of the route between Jenbach and Fügen with a third rail for normal gauge operation, which is planned but the costs are too high. In the course of this planning it is determined that the bridge across the Inn must either be strengthened or re-built at a lower price.


Construction of the new Innbrücke Bridge.


Modern driving trailer trains operate every hour at 70 km/h via radio-controlled points that are operated from a fully electronic, computer-controlled radio base. Operations are rationalised so far that the wood transport rises to 450,000 t. The purchase of two new locomotives becomes essential.
Today, the Zillertalbahn Railway transports 1.7 million passengers per annum and the public buses transport nearly 1.1 million passengers. ZVB AG provides a secure workplace to 170 employees and has thus become an important economic factor in the Schwaz region.


Completion and opening of the Rotholzer Innbrücke bridge.
5 September saw the inauguration and handover of Udern railway station to the Lebenshilfe charity.


On 18 August and 19 November 2004 both diesel locomotives D13 and D14, type ‘Lupo’, ordered at Gmeinder Lokomotivenfabrik GmbH in Mosbach/Germany were delivered.


On 21 April 2005 the contract was signed for the purchase of three driving trailers, five central wagons (Molinari/Zos Vrutky) and two further diesel locomotives, type ‘Lupo’ (Gmeinder). The order was undertaken at the same time as representatives of the Pinzgaubahn Railway in Salzburg, who ordered vehicles of the same type.
The crystal wagon was equipped with elegant seating corners and bistro tables as a part of the general renovation.
The VS 4 driving trailer that has been in use since 1984 was completely renovated and re-designed. This was based on the specifications of the new vehicles. A new underpass was built in Fügen for a new access route to Binders.


In 2006, the bus fleet of Zillertalbahn Railway was modernised to include four new low access buses. Two further bus stops were also constructed in Innsbruck.


On 13 April, the first VS5 driving trailer, purchased from the manufacturer Molinari/Zos Vrutky, was delivered. A new generation of vehicles. Delivery of two “Lupo” locomotives, the D15 (13.04.2007) and the D16 (03.07.2007).

The VT4 railcar from 1983 was given a complete overhaul and a new design. The commencement of a two-rail expansion in some parts

Work began on constructing a partially double-track section between Zell am Ziller and Ramsau i.Z.  


On 19 August, the second driving trailer, the VS7, and, in October 2008, two additional mid-section carriages, B4-35 and B4-36, were delivered from Slovakia to join the new series of Zillertalbahn vehicles. At this point, five out of the eight low-floor vehicles specially constructed for the ZB were in operation on the railway line.

The double-track section between Zell am Ziller and Ramsau im Ziller was completed as far as railway crossing 24.500. On 14 May 2008, a turf-cutting ceremony was held in Kaltenbach to mark the start of construction of the second planned section between Kaltenbach and Aschau. Work commenced on the first stage between the railway station in Kaltenbach and the new stop in Angererbach/Ahrnbach. B4-32, VT5 and VT6 were modified in the Zillertalbahn’s own railway repair workshop to conform to the new design.
14 December – introduction of the half-hour schedule on the railway.


In 2009, the remaining three mid-section carriages, VS6, BD4-37 and BD4-38, were delivered, thus completing the Zillertalbahn’s new series of vehicles. Introduction of a new, improved passenger information system with digital timetable displays at each stop.






On the premises of the Zillertalbahn railway station in Jenbach, construction started on a new facility aimed at linking rail and bus connections within the local, public transport network. In future, a modern, barrier-free public transport hub will provide optimum regulation of the increased traffic volume and growing passenger flows between the trains operated by the ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) and the Zillertalbahn railway, and the local buses operated by the two companies ZVB-AG and ÖBB Postbus GmbH (125 per day).
The project is scheduled for overall completion in spring 2011.
The VT8 railcar from 1998 was given a complete overhaul and a new design.


The second phase of the double-track construction project – the Angererbach/Ahrnbach - Aschau section - was concluded in August 2011 complete with the full safety apparatus and necessary adaptations in and around the railway station in Aschau. On 1st August 2011, the new request stop “Laimach-Regionalmuseum Zillertal” was put into operation. On 19th October 2011, the train traffic control system was granted operating approval by the BMVIT (Austrian Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology), thus bringing the development of this innovative railway security-related apparatus for the Zillertalbahn railway to a successful close. The VT5 railcar from 1993 was given a complete overhaul and a new design. The Zillertalbahn fleet of buses was extended by three new buses (low-floor bus, intercity buses), with low-emission Euro 5 engines. The Zillertalbahn won the VCÖ Mobility Award for its double-track construction project in the category “Infrastructures for multimodal mobility”.


In 2011, the Zillertalbahn was awarded the coveted Summer Award Prize in the international ski area summer test in three different categories, namely innovation awards for the friendliest train drivers and for the friendliest railway station staff and the innovation award for “tradition & nostalgia”.