The fan heater

A few days after the disaster, fire investigators from the Ministry of the Interior photographically documented the fan heater in the funicular’s twin train, which had not been destroyed in the fire. They removed the fan heater and took it to Vienna. These pictures from the “first hour” authentically show the installation situation of the fan heater.

First of all (this photo was not taken by investigators): The fan heater installed in the glacier railway was designed “for bathroom/toilet and living room.”

Der Heizlüfter
Image: private

The attendant’s cab

The attendant’s cab of the train with the fan heater in the console wall (bottom left).

Image by: KTZ

The wooden panels

The wooden panels around the fan heater from the side. The cracks were stuffed with insulating wool (visible at the lower end of the board).

Image by: KTZ

Insulating wool

The wooden panels, again, with insulating wool, photographed from below the train.

Image by: KTZ

Oil pipes

Back in the attendant’s cab: View from the side after removing the wooden board.

The gauge lines run directly against the fan heater and contain highly flammable hydraulic oil under 190 bars of high pressure.

Foto: KTZ


Detail: You can see how the hydraulic oil lines are interwoven with the heater. Above, a noticeable red drop: Experts at the trial called it “condensation,” even though the hydraulic oil in the train was known to be red.

Image by: KTZ

Inside view

View into the fan heater after removing the front half of the housing. The rear half of the housing was mounted behind the console wall; the front half in front of it; the two halves were screwed and clamped with a tailor-made hole in between. Note the oily dirt stains at the bottom left, on the side and in the middle.

Image by: KTZ

individual parts

A so-called exploded view, which should clarify the installation in the console wall.

Illustration: Valentin Pammesberger


Cross-section of the installation: By inserting the console wall in between, the fan heater was made almost 7 mm “thicker,” increasing the volume.

Illustration: Valentin Pammesberger

Tongue and groove

The depth and volume of the fan heater were expanded: the tongue and groove connection between the two housing halves (see drawing below) was disrupted because the console wall was in between them (above). As a result, the device lost its ability to prevent dripping.

Illustration: Valentin Pammesberger