Wächterhäuser an der Semmeringbahn
Roland Tusch
224 pgs., 175 × 240 mm, StudienVerlag, 2014

»The Semmering Railway, the oldest standard gauge mountain railway in the world, runs from Gloggnitz to Mürzzuschlag, in the Alpine border area between the Austrian Provinces of Lower Austria and Styria. Built from 1848 to 1854 – under the direction of Carl Ritter von Ghega (1802–1860) – it was a missing link of the former Südbahn (Southern Railway), reaching its highest point atop the once glamorous Semmering Pass at 898 metres.

One hundred and sixty years after its inauguration, and sixteen years after its recognition as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, a book has been published with the unassuming title Wächterhäuser an der Semmering­bahn (Signalmen’s Lodges along the Semmering Railway). Consequently, it features neither stone viaducts and tunnels, internationally acclaimed as pioneering technical feats at the time of completion, nor the impressive panoramas of magnificent mountains, such as the Schneeberg or the Rax. Instead, Roland Tusch, architect and senior scientist at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, focuses his analysis on a little-known type of building placed along the railway line – the so-called signalman’s lodge. With this compact hardcover publication he brings this architectural gem to a wider audience.«*

* Albert Kirchengast: Wächterhäuser an der Semmeringbahn – Haus Infrastruktur Landschaft. Review in: Journal of Landscape Architecture, 10:1, Routledge, 2015, p. 90