Austria - Articles and news items

Foreword: From road to rail – a pan-European challenge…

Issue 4 2016 / 25 July 2016 /

After 17 years of construction and building costs totalling almost €11 billion, the big day finally arrived at the beginning of June 2016: the inauguration of the 57km-long Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland which attracted much international attention highlighting the European dimension of centennial projects of this kind. Together with the Ceneri Tunnel still under construction and other projects in Italy, the tunnel has a key role within the European TEN-T core network. It once again showcases the relevance of international cooperation with neighbouring countries – in this case, Germany and Italy – for a corridor’s capacity and long-term perspectives. The much reduced travel time and the gains in efficiency promise impetus for combined cargo transport via the corridor from Rotterdam to Genova…

Austria’s Southern Line – the future of travelling and transport

Issue 4 2016 / 25 July 2016 /

The Southern Line in Austria is one of the largest and most spectacular infrastructure projects of the coming decade. Approximately 200km of railway lines will be modernised and 170km newly built. This will lead to the employment of 5,000 people during construction. In 2026 trains will travel from Vienna to Klagenfurt in just 2h40 and from Graz to Klagenfurt in 45 minutes. Covering a total of 470km, they will pass at high speeds through numerous new railway stations and through the Semmering and the Koralpe mountains. Franz Bauer, Member of the Executive Board at ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, provides more information about construction as well as the other benefits the line will bring…

The Semmering Base Tunnel: powerful and future-oriented

Issue 4 2015 / 6 August 2015 /

The Semmering Base Tunnel is one of the most important long-term large-scale infrastructure projects in the Austrian and European high-capacity route network. Through the 27.3km-long tunnel between Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag, a sustainable investment is being made in both Austrian and international rail transport. In the long-term, the Semmering Base Tunnel will not only relieve the ‘Semmering-Bahn’ UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also enable a faster, more attractive freight and passenger transport service – powerful and future-oriented. Gerhard Gobiet, Project Manager at ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, gives a construction overview of this huge project…

WESTbahn fights for fair open-access conditions in the Austrian rail market

Issue 4 2015 / 6 August 2015 /

Few private rail operators have entered into open-access long-distance travel – incumbents try to keep the monopoly alive, and it seems the way to non-discriminatory integration of all railway companies is difficult. Ever since WESTbahn’s operational launch, the private railway company has been fighting against discrimination in the Austrian open-access market. WESTbahn has contributed significantly in creating an extended public transport network without subsidies, but has had to cope with many obstacles placed by the incumbent ÖBB. Erich Forster, Managing Director of WESTbahn, explains further…

WESTbahn acquires 10 additional Stadler trains

Rail industry news / 13 May 2015 /

Austrian rail operator WESTbahn has announced the acquisition of 10 Stadler KISS EMU trains to supplement its existing fleet.

EU TEN-T Programme provides funding for Vienna rail network

Rail industry news / 31 March 2015 /

The European Union’s TEN-T Programme has provided 1 million Euros of funding for a study preparing the construction of a new rail link between Münchendorf and Wampersdorf (via Ebreichsdorf) in Austria.

Investing in the railway system is worthwhile

Issue 4 2014 / 5 August 2014 /

The railway system has a tremendous future – if we want to have an economically and environmentally sustainable transport system available to support the ever-increasing mobility of people and goods, then we need to actively promote environmentally-friendly modes of transport, such as the railway system, explains Doris Bures, the Austrian Federal Minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology. In the Transport Masterplan, Austria is committed to a policy of making the transport system more socially beneficial, safer, environmentally friendlier and more efficient. This goal can only be achieved through a targeted expansion of the railway infrastructure.

Accelerating infrastructure expansion in Austria

Issue 4 2014 / 5 August 2014 /

ÖBB – Austria’s leading railway enterprise – has for some years now been focussing on accelerating expansion of the infrastructure and has pushed investment to a record level. The result brings high-performance rail corridors with excellent connections to the neighbouring EU States, reduced journey times and modern stations which make rail travel attractive. Franz Bauer, Director of Infrastructure Provision and Member of the Executive Board at ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, explains further how Austria is setting new standards in its rail infrastructure and thus emerging as an important transport hub in Europe…

Signalling: Status of ETCS in Austria

Issue 2 2014 / 11 April 2014 /

When planning first began to implement ETCS Level 2 in Austria, ÖBB – the Austrian Federal Railways – was also faced with the challenge of creating and adapting its operational rules and procedures at that time. Therefore, in parallel to the technical projects for GSM-R, infrastructure and rolling stock etc., a project known as ‘ETCS-operations’ was started to define the ‘operational requirements for ETCS’ as a basis for the call for tender and also to close the gap between existing conventional rules and future ETCS rules and procedures. Beside this major task, this project was also responsible for defining how to work in a degraded mode, how to operate an RBC (Radio Block Centre) and how to handle failures.

Steady construction continues on the new Koralmbahn

Issue 1 2014 / 12 February 2014 /

The Koralm Railway (or Koralmbahn) is a new double-track line approximately 133km-long that will run between the Austrian cities of Graz and Klagenfurt and is part of the Baltic-Adriatic Axis which connects the Baltic Sea with the ports of the upper Adriatic. At the heart of the new railway line is the Koralm Tunnel (approximately 32.9km-long) and once completed it will be one of the longest tunnels in the world.

ÖBB – shaping mobility of the future

Issue 4 2013 / 1 August 2013 /

In early-2013, the Supervisory Board of ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG and ÖBB-Holding AG concluded an order worth approximately €581 million for 100 new Siemens Desiro ML mass transit and regional trains. The new trainsets will contribute significantly to improving passenger comfort and prove that ÖBB is committed to enhancing its offering.

The focus of the design concept of these trains is centred on adding extra comfort and providing additional passenger capacity in order to cope with the continuously rising demand of travel in Austria. The order was placed as a framework agreement with Siemens – 30 trains will serve in the local traffic network in and around Vienna and 70 are earmarked to serve the regional traffic networks in Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Styria. Completing the finishing-construction process of the trains will be carried out in ÖBB workshops and it is expected that the trainsets will be taken into service by the end of 2015.

WESTbahn shakes up Austrian market

Issue 4 2013 / 1 August 2013 /

WESTbahn Management GmbH is a private railway company that launched operations in December 2011 offering passenger services between Vienna, Salzburg and Freilassing. We are the first private long-distance railway company in Austria, offering almost hourly intervals. Due to a top speed of 200km/h, the journey time of WESTbahn trains from Vienna to Salzburg is just 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Stadler Rail AG was commissioned to manufacture our trains – the spec was to focus on functional technology, lightweight materials and a service-friendly design that would keep energy and maintenance costs low, with an overall objective to design trains that focused on our customers and their needs. It was therefore important that values are reminiscent of the WESTbahn brand: comfortable, customer-friendly and efficient. This is the reason why we also commissioned Spirit Design – Innovation and Brand GmbH – a creative company for innovations and brand, to actually design the trains.

Each WESTbahn wagon has its own steward or stewardess who guarantees optimal customer service as well as safety for the customer. Barrierfree entrances allow parents with infants and buggies or people with reduced mobility easy access to the trains. We always rank customer satisfaction first. Another benefit is that the toilets are gender-specifically separated and available in each wagon. It was important that the customer perceives all of these advantages through an individual design.