ÖBB announces almost 3.4 billion euros in fresh rail investments
ÖBB has started 2023 with a bang in announcing combined railway infrastructure investments of 3.38 billion euros in the various Austrian states. The eastern part of the country and the federal state of Styria will be the main recipients of funds, with 1.2 billion and 642 million euros, respectively.
The investments are part of a 19-billion-euro construction spending package which runs until 2028. For this year, the announced spending comes out at close to 3.4 billion euros. The funds are split as follows:
- Voralberg: 52 million, 104-kilometre network
- Salzburg: 171 million, 242-kilometre network
- Upper Austria: 331 million, 881-kilometre network
- Carinthia: 379 million, 517-kilometre network
- Tyrol: 536 million, 460-kilometre network
- Styria: 642 million, 787-kilometre network
- Ostregion: 1.2 billion, n.a.
The so-called Ostregion, comprising the federal states of Lower Austria, Burgerland and Vienna, is the main recipient of railway infrastructure investment in 2023. According to ÖBB, the earmarked 1.2 billion marks a new record. The operator aims to complete the expansion of the Pottendorfer in the Vienna area and between Münchendorf and Wampersdorf. These efforts also include the opening of a new station in Ebreichsdorf later this year. To facilitate train travel between Eisenstadt and Vienna, ÖBB also want to make progress on the construction of the Ebenfurth loop. Ongoing projects include the four-track expansion of the Meidling-Mödling line, the renovation of the Kalte Rinne Viaduct and the modernisation of train stations.
There will also be a particular focus on regional trains, with various expansion, modernisation and electrifications efforts planned. In Vienna, the emphasis will be on better rail connections, especially across the east-west axis.
Western line takes centre stage
In Voralberg, the smallest of the federal states, ÖBB will be working on a new underpass in Bregenz, an expansion of St.Margrethen– Lauterach line and the Bludenz monastery arch, as well as upgrades work to the Klaus station.
Work on a four-track expansion of the western line between Köstendorf and Salzburg is still ongoing. Elsewhere in the state of Salzburg, ÖBB will build a new station at Seekirchen, modernise the Tauern route in de Gastein Valley and renew bridges in the Lend area. To increase production of its own green electricity, ÖBB will also continue the expansion of the Tauernmoos pumped-storage hydropower plant.
With 331 million euros, Upper Austria will see an increase in investment of 44 million euros. Here, too, work will be carried out on the western line. Many of the other expansion efforts will be in and around the city of Linz. Elsewhere in the state, work is ongoing on the Mattig valley railway and the Pyhrn route. Furthermore, train stations will be revamped and many regional lines will see electrification.
Emphasis on tunnels
2023 will also see the inauguration of the Koralm railway in Carinthia. In addition, ÖBB is working on a new Obervellach power plant in the coming 18 months. Other major projects this year include the modernisation of the Villach train station and a new underpass in Pörtschach.
Much of the work in Tyrol will centre on the access route to the Brenner Base Tunnel, such as additional exploration drilling efforts and making progress on the four-track expansion at Schaftenau – Radfeld junction. Additionally, improvements to the stations in Telfs-Pfaffenhofen and Fritzens-Wattens. ÖBB will also be looking to close several level crossing in Tyrol and take safety measures for others.
Much of the work on the Koralm railway will be carried out in the state of Styria, hence the large investments in this state. Styria will see 2.8 billion euros through 2028. ÖBB aims to begin track laying in the 33-kilometre Koralm tunnel and make tunnel breakthroughs in the Semmering Base Tunnel. Other efforts include beefing up the solar power installations in the state, modernise railway stations, increase electrification efforts and expand existing lines.