The collection of rolling stock at Schwechat, 12 km south-east of Vienna, is modest in size in comparison with those of the great national railway museums, but it represents a particularly interesting phase in the development of railways, and reflects the political exigencies of the Danube valley during the 20th century.
The main line railway from Vienna to the present day Slovakian city of Bratislava [German: Pressburg] follows the north bank of the River Danube, but there was a demand in the early 20th century for links between the communities along the south bank. The two cities were linked from February 1914 by the Pressburgerbahn, a 69 km route of the kind that would be called an ‘interurban’ route in the United States. At either end of the line, 12 km in Vienna and 7 km in Bratislava shared the tracks of city tramways. The new section extended 50 km across the countryside from Schwechat to Kittsee [Köpcsény in Hungarian, or Kopcäny in Slovak]. On the urban sections trains used the 600 volt DC system that was shared with the city trams, but the country section was electrified at 16,500 volts ac. The service when the line opened consisted of 15 workings daily between Vienna and Bratislava. When the latter city became part of Czechoslovakia after the First World War passport checks were introduced, and it became necessary to change locomotives at the approach to Bratislava. Through operations ceased during the Second World War, although the city tramway sections have been modernised. The museum has one of the centre-cab, double-bonnet electric locomotives constructed for the line when it was opened, as well as some original passenger.
The museum is based in the former Pressburgerbahn station and depot, and the collection includes steam, diesel and electric locomotives of several gauges, as well as an assortment of passenger and freight vehicles, including some postal vans. There is a permanent exhibition featuring the products of the engineering works at Jenbach in the Tyrol, which began to repair railway wagons for the French occupying authority in 1949, and went on to manufacture railcars and diesel locomotives. Visitors are able to ride on trains on a section of 60 cm gauge track.