ÖBB to give Vienna S-Bahn a major upgrade
With passenger numbers growing rapidly in the eastern region, the Austrian Ministry of Climate Protection and the City of Vienna are investing in the renewal of the S-Bahn Vienna main line. Indeed, some sections of this commuter line are over 150 years old. As such, renovations will take place between the autumn of 2023 and December 2027.
The S-Bahn Vienna main line runs between Vienna Meidling in the south and Vienna Floridsdorf in the north of the city. It is the busiest commuter line in Austria with approximately 700 trains carrying around 250,000 passengers per working day. Construction will take place in two major phases. First, the Floridsdorf to Praterstern section will be renovated between fall 2023 and summer 2026. Then, the Praterstern to Vienna Meidling section will be renovated from fall 2025 to December 2027.
During this modernisation project, the ETCS (European Train Control System) Level 2 train control system will be implemented. This will allow for a shorter, 2.5-minute interval during rush hour in Vienna and shorter waiting times. The planned extension of platforms will also allow for the use of longer trains, which should increase the number of seats available by 40 per cent by 2028. This will take place on the main line but also the north line, northwest line and south line. In total, the upgrade will optimise 170 kilometres of closely interlinked tracks.
The project will also involve the modernization of structures such as viaducts, bridges, tunnels and retaining walls, as well as investments in new tracks, switches, overhead lines and the construction of new stabling and turning facilities.
The renewal of the S-Bahn Vienna main line will take place between fall 2023 and December 2027. For the main construction measures between Vienna Praterstern and Vienna Central Station, a 14-month closure is necessary from September 2026 to October 2027.
In the northern section of the line, from Vienna Floridsdorf to Vienna Praterstern, construction work will start in fall 2023. Platforms will be extended to 220 metres in the stations on this line. At Wien Handelskai station, a new station exit will be built and the forecourt modernised. At Wien Traisengasse, an exit will be relocated. As a result, no trains will run in July and August 2024, 2025 and 2026.
In the Praterstern to Vienna Meidling section, work will start in the fall of 2025 and is scheduled to be completed two years later. Buildings, supporting structures, viaducts, bridges, and retaining walls will receive an upgrade. This will result in a line closure between Vienna Praterstern and Vienna Central Station between September 2026 and October 2027. Also, the S-Bahn tracks will not be passable at the end of 2027, but long-distance traffic will still have access to the southern line as far as Vienna Central Station.
Lastly, to minimise the impact on rail customers and commuters, ÖBB, the City of Vienna and Wiener Linien are working in close coordination to develop a comprehensive alternative transport concept. Detailed information on the affected connections, replacement services or transfer options will be available before the first summer closure in 2024.
Now, shifts come quickly. In fact shift is the new normal.
Other modes, as redundant, those with margins, ongoingly upgrade, for added load and lower costs, etc.
A New Old Railway, a redundant, now is needed! (For added load, now longer trains is single – a not sustainable – option…)
Electrification shall be redundant, etc., etc.