The Arlberg Railway , which connects the Austrian cities Innsbruck and Bludenz, is Austria's only east-west mountain railway. It is one of the highest standard gauge railways in Europe and the second highest in Austria, after the Brenner. The 135.7 km line is a highly problematic mountain railway, in part because it is threatened by avalanches, mudslides, rockfalls and floods. It is operated by the Austrian Federal Railways and frequented by international trains, including the Orient Express.
As early as 1842 a railway over the Arlberg Pass was under discussion, as the British sought a rail connection for traffic from England to Egypt. Two years later, in 1847, Carl Ganahl - a textile industrialist from Feldkirch - decided to privately support construction of the railway, despite the many technical challenges involved. On the other hand, the opening of the Semmering Railway in 1854 showed that mountain railways were basically possible and feasible. Trade Minister Anton Freiherr von Banhans presented on March 22, 1872, at the Chamber of Deputies a draft law on the execution of the Arlberg railway at government expense for a total amount of 42 million florins. In 1879 the protagonists of the Arlbergbahn with the intended 10,270 m long summit tunnel were successful. The submitted project had won confidence by the progress in the Gotthard Tunnel. Julius Lott was appointed planning director of the Arlbergbahn.
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