330 new ÖBB trains to hit the tracks as timetable receives update
In response to increased passenger demand, ÖBB has invested in 330 new trains, with a total of 100,000 more seats to be made available in the coming years. This represents an investment of around 6.1 billion euros by the Austrian operator in rolling stock by 2030. 33 new seven-car Nightjets have also been ordered, with the first trains scheduled to be in service as early as December 10, 2023 on the routes from Vienna and Innsbruck to Hamburg. On this same date, a new timetable will be implemented in Austria.
“Internationally, we are strengthening our offer with additional long-distance connections, including to Germany, Slovenia, Poland and France. In Austria passengers can expect numerous innovations in the 2024 timetable and a substantial increase of around 4.5 million additional service kilometres in local and regional services,” stated ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä in a press release.
New generation Railjets
The upcoming generation of Railjets – ÖBB’s high-speed trains – is nearing completion, poised to enhance passenger comfort along the Brenner route (Munich-Innsbruck-Bolzano-Verona) starting in spring 2024. An additional 27 new carriages are slated for deployment in inner-Alpine traffic by 2025. ÖBB has recently placed an order for 14 Railjet double-decker trains, set to augment seating capacity from 2026. The existing Railjets will undergo a modernisation initiative in 2024. This programme will sequentially upgrade all 60 existing Railjet sets in terms of design, interior, technology, and telematics.
ÖBB is procuring 47 more Cityjet double-decker trains from Stadler, with a total investment of approximately 743 million euros. This brings the total count of new Cityjet double-decker trains to 109, with initial services commencing in the eastern region in 2026. Furthermore, to contribute to decarbonization, ÖBB has recently placed an order for 16 battery-powered trains. These trains are slated to replace diesel services on the Kamptalbahn line starting in 2028.
ÖBB timetable changes
In the upcoming timetable year, provincial capitals will be connected by new daily evening services from Vienna to Salzburg and a new pair of direct trains between Graz and Linz. Additionally, there will be more long-distance connections between Innsbruck and Bregenz. Services on the Vienna-Villach-Lienz route will be expanded, featuring additional direct trains, optimised morning and evening timetables, and individual supplementary trains on weekends. Weekend connections for the Vienna-Salzburg-Zell am See-Kitzbühel-Wörgl route will also see improvements.
In 2024, ÖBB plans to expand local and regional services, leading to an increase of approximately 4.5 million service kilometres. The eastern region will see a boost of 2.9 million service kilometres, including the introduction of a new CJX line between Vienna Hbf – Baden bei Wien – Wiener Neustadt, a new half-hourly service for the inner Westbahn line (Vienna – St. Pölten), and increased frequency for the REX 4 between Vienna Franz-Josefs-Bahnhof and Krems.
Tyrol will experience a new local transport concept with increased frequencies, extensions, a new night S-Bahn, and revised timetable arrangements. In southern Austria, the Carinthian section of the Koralm railway, including the Wolfsberg – St. Paul im Lavanttal feeder line, will commence operations, bringing improvements such as faster journey times, hourly frequency on weekends for the Wolfsberg – Klagenfurt suburban railway, and additional REX connections during rush hour. Additionally, a new Postbus shuttle service will enhance flexible mobility beyond the regular timetables in Carinthia starting December 11, 2023, in Bleiburg.
33 new Nightjets
Next month, the new generation ‘Viaggio Next Leve’l night coaches will be put in service in Austria. The new night train carriages, developed by Siemens Mobility, were manufactured in Vienna while the bogies and wheelsets came from Graz. The fleet of seven-car trains has received approval for Austria, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and can reach a maximum speed of 230 kilometres per hour.
Each train set consists of one control car (seating car), one multifunctional car (seating car with compartment for people with reduced mobility and a multifunctional zone), three couchette cars (with 4-person compartments and mini cabins), as well as two sleeping cars. All compartments are fitted with their own toilet and shower facilities. This configuration accommodates a maximum of 254 seats in a single set. The trains boast various novel features including individual pod-style berths for solo travellers, in addition to the traditional couchettes and sleeping cars.
New Nightjet schedule
ÖBB is set to introduce two new Nightjet lines connecting Berlin to Paris and Berlin to Brussels. Initially, these services will run three times a week, with plans to increase to daily operations starting in October 2024. Additionally, the Nightjet from Vienna to Paris (NJ 468/469) and Vienna to Brussels (NJ 40468/40425) will transition to a daily service from the same date. Meanwhile, the EuroNight 406/407 route is getting a revamp, now spanning Munich, Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, Krakow, and Warsaw, providing a direct connection from Salzburg and Linz to the capital of Poland.
Furthermore, the NJ 456/457 route from Graz to Vienna to Berlin is being optimised by incorporating stops at Břeclav, Prague, and Dresden. For travellers with destinations beyond the reach of overnight trains, ÖBB is enhancing its network by seamlessly connecting trains and flights. Vienna Airport will serve as a hub, providing air travellers with improved connections through the extension of existing trains.
Nightjet testing on the Westbahn
PJM was commissioned with the overall approval in cooperation with ÖBB, as the only test centre in Austria that is recognised in the field of aerodynamics. As an accredited test laboratory, the Austrian company was in charge of the design and production of the measuring wheelsets as well as for the approval tests in the areas of running behaviour, fatigue strength, acoustics and aerodynamics.
The aerodynamic vehicle tests were performed at speeds of over 200 kilometres per hour in the tunnel and 230 kilometres per hour on open track. Compliance with the permissible aerodynamic stresses was checked on the train platform, on the open track and in tunnels. The required boundary conditions in Austria can currently only be realised on the Westbahn line, which is why the test runs took place between Vienna and Linz. Preparation was required in advance so as not to interfere with the tight timetable of the heavily used line.