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12  The John tunnel


Stud Name:              "St. John of Nepomuk - Stollen"                                                                   

                                     originally watering scree, named after "water saints"

Struck:           1725                

Leave:                   1831                

Length:                         230 m

Altitude:                     991 m


In 1725, the St. Johannes tunnel was struck to bring in the still unleached mountain thickness of 10 Stabel (11.9m) between the Matthias and Obernberg tunnels and to leach existing works above the level of the Matthias tunnel.                                                                                                                                                                                 

Initially, this building was only intended to serve as ventilation and drainage for the princes' weir. However, when the salt was reached during the excavation of this Ebenschurf in 1730 and the cleansing pit was connected to the princes' weir by sinking, the still unnamed building was given the name St.  John of Nepomuk tunnels.

The St Johannes tunnel – main shaft was driven entirely in the squeezing clay rock. The tunnel timbering lasted barely 1 year. Therefore, 2 scaffolds were constantly needed to keep the tunnel open to traffic.

Situation of the weirs in the St. Johannes tunnel around 1800:

Length from the mouth hole to the salt boundary 219 bars (261.7 m), from there to the field site 190 bars (227.1 m).                                                                       

2 hairpin bends with a total of 3 weirs, 2 of which are unusable (Fürsten - and Wimmer - Weir) and 1 usable (Zierler - Weir).

Because of the rich salt mountains, the decision was made to extend the prince's weir beyond the Matthias tunnel. For this purpose, a cleaning pit, a sink works and 2 dam outlets were built from the St. Johannes tunnel. In 1733 the prince's weir could be watered again in order to be able to use the thickness of the mountain down to the St. Johannes tunnel. In 1744 the prince's weir went down because it was too close to the overlying rock and fresh water had broken in. The princes' weir now had to be dammed up and abandoned.

The Kain and Tratl weir in the Matthias tunnel, which had been in operation since 1648, was also to be leached beyond the Matthias tunnel. Since the Kain and Tratl weir had already fallen into disrepair, a sinkage was sunk from the St. Johannes tunnel in 1738. In doing so, devious brine was encountered. In 1764, a second sinkage, located further towards the day, was sunk from the St. Johannes adit - main shaft against the Kain and Tratl weir. After the construction of 2 dams, the facility, now known as the Zierler weir, could be watered again and watered higher towards the St. Johannes tunnel.

In 1802 there was an unexpected decline in the factory, which relocated the two drain boxes of the Zierler weir. The drain boxes could be found under the companionway and prepared. In 1807 the factory went down again. The Zierler weir, which had been emptied down to 17 rooms (1,924m³), could no longer be emptied any further. In 1 week, only ½ room (57m³) of brine drained away, then the drain dried up completely. Since the old sinkage also became completely unusable due to the decline, a new sinkage had to be sunk, and through this, the brine still in the weir had to be laboriously pumped up.

The Wimmer weir was built in the eastern part of the St. Johannes tunnel to use the salt agents that remained behind the Zierler weir. However, since there was a risk when the Wimmer weir was flooded that the surface water in the Lipplesgraben tunnel could break through and the salt mountains were very poor, it was completely abandoned again in 1781.

Around 1800, the weirs in the Johannes tunnel were largely exhausted. Despite the rich salt deposits that were still available in places, these could not be used further because they were too close to the surface and there was a risk of fresh water ingress. The remaining mountain forts were necessary to support the mountains and were not allowed to be weakened under any circumstances.

The tunnel hut near the St. Johannes tunnel burned down completely in 1787.


Situation of the weirs in the St. Johannes tunnel around 1850:

A total of 3 weirs, all pronounced dead around 1850;                                                                            

Wimmer - weir, Zierler - weir, princes - weir.

Until 1933, the drainage path led in the St. Johannes tunnel from the water intake point on the Sulzbach via the drainage pit to the main shaft and on to the Saherböck pit, over which the water flowed down into the Matthias tunnel. The rear part of the St. Johannes tunnel was finally abandoned.

Sources used:

Carl Schraml "The Upper Austrian salt works from the beginning of the 16th to the middle of the 18th century", Vienna 1932

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

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

Johann Steiner "The traveling companion through Upper Austrian Switzerland", Linz 1820, reprint Gmunden 1981

Georg Chancellor "Ischl's chronicle", Ischl 1881, reprint Bad Ischl 1983

Michael Kefer "Description of the main maps of the kk Salzberg zu Ischl", 1820, transcription by Thomas Nussbaumer, as of September 13, 2016

Anton Dicklberger "Systematic history of the salt pans of Upper Austria", Volume I, Ischl 1807, transcription by Thomas Nussbaumer, as of 06.2018

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