ÖBB on halfway in digging Semmering Tunnel

Austrian rail infrastructure manager ÖBB-Infrastruktur and its contractors have resumed the works at almost all the construction sites in the country. Among them is the Semmering Base Tunnel. The project is on the halfway to its finish.

The construction of the 27-kilometre railway tunnel started in April 2012. It is being built at five sites simultaneously. According to ÖBB, the constructors must dig 62 tunnel kilometres taking into account the boring process in one direction and backwards as well as all the entrances, shafts and connecting tunnels. As of today, the workers are on the halfway.

“After eight years of construction, the halfway point of the construction works has been reached – around half of the Semmering base tunnel has been built. This milestone marks another chapter in the success story of the new southern section,” noted Andreas Matthä, CEO of ÖBB-Holding. To keep safety at the construction sites, ÖBB-Infrastruktur has implemented a range of measures including social distancing where it is possible, hygiene regulations and monitoring the health status of the workers.

Semmering Base Tunnel, source: Wikimedia Commons

Two benefits

The construction of the Semmering Base Tunnel will be completed in 2027. With launching the new facility, the Southern Railway that connects Vienna to Graz, the second-largest city in Austria, will get at least two benefits. The Gloggnitz – Mürzzuschlag section of the line, which is currently considered as the bottleneck of the Vienna – Graz corridor due to its curved route, will receive the more straight and faster way. Owing to the Semmering Tunnel, a journey of passenger trains between Vienna and Graz will be reduced by around 1 hour. The other benefit is the higher capacity of the line as the Gloggnitz – Mürzzuschlag section will actually become a four-track route in operational terms (see the map above).

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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