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20  The Emperor Franz Josef – Erbstollen


Stud Name:              "Emperor Franz Josef Erbstollen"

                                     Emperor Franz Josef I, reign 1848 – 1916

Struck:            December 4, 1895 / Barbara Day  – Information board at Ulm near the mouth hole

Completion:           1906

Length:                          2,860m

Altitude:                     503 m


As early as 1807, it was proposed to drive under the existing Pernecker mine from the Trauntal, which is 180 m below, but this was initially omitted due to the difficulties of the long tunnel drive. A manuscript prepared by Michael Kefer on May 27, 1825 to the "Hochlobliche kk Allgemeine Hofkammer" contains a suggestion about "The last main underpass tunnel, namely from Ischl (market, Teufelsmühle, former bakery Vocktenhuber), not far from the Brunnleiten or from the Anzenauer Mühlbach .”

Subsequently, four possible impact points were examined more closely.

  1. From the Teufelsmühle in Ischl: length of the Erbstollen 5,289 m, going under the Leopold Stollen by 204 m

  2. From the Rettenbach valley near Ischl: length of the Erbstollen 3,507 m, going under the Leopold Adit by 151 m

  3. From Lauffen vis a vis the train station: length of the Erbstollen 3,460 m, undercutting the Leopold Stollen by 190 m

  4. From the Brunnleiten: length of the Erbstollen 3,450 m, going under the Leopold Adit by 195 m



ischler salzberg_riss_unterfahrungsstoll

Proposals for the Salzberg Bad Ischl underpass tunnel, Bad Ischl Salt Mine Archive

The projects were initially on hold and it was only in 1868 that this matter started to move again, when the task was to carry out the geological investigations of the Imperial Geological Institute ordered by the Imperial and Royal Ministry of Finance on all Alpine salt mountains and to examine the depth of the salt deposits with regard to their richness .


At the Ischler Salzberg, the Dunajewski exploratory shaft was sunk from the Rosenfeldkehr in the Leopold tunnel to a depth of 94 m and another 250 m deep borehole was drilled from the bottom of the shaft. This showed that the Pernecker salt deposit reached at least another 344 m in depth.

This proven depth of the salt storage was decisive for the final decision in 1890 to excavate a new underpass construction.


From the four impact points for the Erbstollen, taking into account the hydroelectric power near the wild Lauffen, this tunnel was struck not far from the market town of Lauffen on the western slope of the Anzenberg with a projected length of 2,847.7 m.

With a bottom rise of 2 per mil (2 m over 1000 m length), the same should meet the Distler shaft lowered by the Leopold tunnel, so that from its bottom to the horizon of the Leopold tunnel there is a mineable salt dome of 180 m thickness and 6 floors of 30 m height would result.

From December 4, 1895, the Emperor Franz Josef Erbstollen was excavated from Lauffen. On September 22, 1906, after 2700 m in the Bilinsky bend, the breakthrough took place with the Distler shaft, which had meanwhile been sunk to a depth of 180 m.


Two impact drills from Siemens and two from Halske with 4.5 hp were used to drive the tunnel. These drilling machines are operated by four workers, who usually drilled and shot the entire tunnel profile of 5.75 m² through 19 to 20 boreholes with a depth of about 1 to 1.1 m in an eight-hour shift. About 10.5 kg of dynamite was needed per shot. The average tunneling performance per shift was 0.9 to 1.0 m in length. The tunnel was driven in a rectangular shape, with a width of 2.5 m and a height of 2.3 m, the profile area was 5.75 m².


After the end of the hewn shift, seven man haulers were used to bring the mountains to the surface in another eight-hour shift with 0.75 m³ iron tipping hoists.

A power station was set up in Lauffen to supply electricity to the impact drills. A 23 hp Jounval turbine could set two dynamo machines in motion.


The axis of the Erbstollen was designed in such a way that it would have met the Ausseer Salzberg below the Ferweger shaft in a straight line. The project to the Ausseer Salzberg was not realized, although the underground distance would have been only approx. 5000 m. Shortly after leaving the Pernecker salt dome at 3,672 m, there was a massive inrush of water from the limestone floe of the Raschberg, which could only be managed with great effort in 1919. Due to the low gradient of the tunnel, the large water masses could not drain off.

The design of the tunnel portal by Bergrat Karl Balz Edler von Balzberg takes up the motif of ancient commemorative arches in terms of form and gesture. If you consider the fact that Emperor Franz Josef I himself opened the Erbstollen in the 50th year of his reign, the design intention of this monument becomes understandable. The portal of the mouth hole is made of true-to-size ashlar masonry made of Karbach marble and is over 10 m high.                                  


During World War II, in December 1944, two chambers were blasted out in the heritage tunnel, namely at tunnel meters 250 and 280. Larger-format salvage goods from the Führer collection were to be stored there, as there was no space in Aussee for larger pieces. Incidentally, the two chambers only housed art treasures temporarily and only during the worst crisis, as they proved to be too damp.

At the end of 1989, the new above-ground facilities at the Kaiser Franz Josef Erbstollen were put into operation.


The Kaiser Franz Josef Erbstollen runs roughly in a W – E direction.

The so-called Vorhauptlager is located at the beginning of the Erbstollen between 0 and 1030 m. This is very rich in large masses of anhydrite and gypsum, which have also been mined on an experimental basis. The salt dome of the Vorhauptlager, which geologically belongs to the "Buntsandsteinhaselgebirge", is still unleached.

An anticline rupture of limestone from the Totengebirgs nappe follows the pre-main camp.

Only at 2782 m in the Erbstollen can you find the deposit limit of the Pernecker main deposit. The boundary to the Hasel Mountains is formed by dark grey-brown, chert-bearing Oberalmer Limestone from the Jura.

Only the workers Blaschke (until 1983) and Vogl (until 2011, dissolution up to II. civil engineering) and the borehole probe BL 1/E (until 2011) were operated in the tunnel. The BL 1/E borehole probe was converted into a lintel before it was decommissioned.

In February 2011, the underground brine production in the Bad Ischl mine, which was last operated in the II.

Two sulfur springs were found in the Erbstollen at 2,366 m and 2,526 m.

The state health resorts currently draw around 30 m³ of healing water from the sulfur spring II, which emerges in the Erbstollen at 2525 m. It is a sodium - chloride - sulphate - sulfur spring (Glauber salt spring), which is processed in a medicinal water treatment plant installed by the state spa at the Erbstollen for the spa operation.


Sources used:

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1750 to the time after the French Wars", Vienna 1934

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian Salt Works from 1818 to the end of the Salt Office in 1850", Vienna 1936

Ischl home club "Bad Ischl home book 2004", Bad Ischl 2004

August Aigner "About the Emperor Franz Josef Erbstollen in Ischl", communications from the Natural Science Association of Styria, Vol. 41, Graz 1904

Friedrich Idam "Kaiser Franz Josef Erbstollen", manuscript Internet

Leopold Schiendorfer "Perneck - A Village Through the Ages", Linz 2006

Leopold Schiendorfer, Thomas Nussbaumer "450 years of salt mining in Bad Ischl", Bad Ischl 2013

Katharina Hammer "Shine in the Dark", Altaussee 1996



This location is not currently open for visits as it is an active mining area.

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