Who are the Tiroler MuseumsBahnen?
The “Tiroler MuseumsBahnen” (German for Tyrolian Heritage Railways), acronym “TMB”, were founded in 1983 as a non-profit association. Our mission encompasses the historic and current development of and impacts on railway traffic, with focus on secondary railway lines, in the Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino Euroregion.
Our goals are documenting the history of secondary railways, collecting both historically and technically important items and railway cars, thus preserving and restoring them for future generations. We show the results of our voluntary work in the “Localbahnmuseum” (German for Museum of Local Railways), and thus giving cultural add-value to the region. The museum is operated by the before-mentioned association.
Explicit goals of our association are:
- Operating a workshop for preserving and restoring historically valuable railway cars,
- Organizing presentations and public rides,
- Operating the Localbahnmuseum and the museum’s depot,
- Collecting historically valuable documents and items,
- Collecting historically interesting publications in our library,
- Collecting historical and current pictures and drawings,
- Operating heritage railway excursions with all required activities,
- Publishing the association’s periodical “Lyra” and other publications concerning the Tyrolian railways.
The association is situated in the former Stubaitalbahnhof (Pater-Reinisch-Weg 4, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria).
Outline of the association’s history
Due to the geographical situation, the Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino Euroregion bears a long-lasting history of transit and transportation alike. The Brenner, as lowest alpine pass in the eastern alps, has been carrying the north-south (and vice versa) traffic since the Roman times. This of course had a major influence on the railway construction later which led to the opening of the Southern Railway over the Brenner in 1866. After inauguration of the interregional main railway lines, planning for regional and local lines started. Mentionable, the Stubaitalbahn was the first commercial railway deploying alternate current (AC) with industrial frequency, and the Mittenwaldbahn was the very first railway operating with the now-used electrification system of Austrian railways.
After changing the electrical system of the Stubaitalbahn to direct current power supply, the TMB were founded to preserve the valuable technical heritage. Thus, it was possible to prevent these railway cars from being scrapped. Luckily, the early members of the association were able to convince both the politicians of Innsbruck and the directors of the Innsbrucker Verkehrsbetriebe to save the old depot and the old station building, for establishing the new museum.
Finally, in 1984 the erection of the museum began, and the inauguration took place in 1985. To gain space in the depot, some of the original Stubaitalbahn cars (as none of them was operational anymore) were given to collectors and other heritage railways. The additional space was deployed for collecting historically valuable railway cars of different types and from different railway companies. Until 1989, the association had restored its first railway car in nearly original state. Many others followed up to currently 27 railway cars (a complete list can be found here), whereas most of them are operational and authorized by the responsible railway authorities. Even “exotic” vehicles, like the last operable cog railway locomotive from the Rittnerbahn in Bolzano/Southern Tyrol, are in our collection nowadays. The historical importance of our collection can be best seen by the fact that the original Stubaitalbahn car #1 was listed as cultural heritage by the national cultural heritage authority (Bundesdenkmalamt) in 2007. Furthermore, several publications were released since starting the museum; meanwhile, most of them are out of stock.
Tiroler MuseumsBahnen today
The Localbahmuseum is situated in the former station’s restaurant and is presenting the history of the Tyrolian Railways on two floors. As a railway museum, we are presenting our collection of railway cars in the former depot of the Stubaitalbahn, which was adapted in 2000 to better fit museum purposes. The museum depot now contains the workshop, the clubroom, the archive, and the stock of spare parts.
The association has about 200 members, whose residences are not limited to Tyrol or Austria but can be found all over the world. For regular information of our members, we release the periodical “Lyra”. It contains news regarding our activities as well as current trends in the railway scene in the Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino Euroregion.
Besides operating the museum, a lot of efforts is invested in maintaining the buildings and vehicles. To carry on their preservation for the next generations, we constantly look for volunteers and other supportive members.
Become a new member!
As stated above, new members are essential for adding value to this part of Tyrol’s technical heritage. Regular and extraordinary tasks need to be performed, for which we seek both financial and workforce support. If you are interested in the operation of the museum or in maintaining vehicles, or if you want to share your knowledge about railways with us, we invite you to become a new member. You can visit us during the museum’s opening hours or when we are working at the depot, or you can contact us by dropping an email at email@example.com. Regardless of your present skills or knowledge, we welcome every new member in the association provided he/she is truly interested in (secondary) railways and wants to support us on a voluntary basis. We will find an exciting activity for everyone – promised!
We would be happy to welcome you as a new member to our association. For further information please go here.