The Austrian Federal Railways (OEBB) is continuing with its largest-ever expansion and investment programme in 2023, announcing 1.2 billion EUR (1.26bn USD) for works in the eastern region.
In addition to maintenance and modernisation, the focus is primarily on expansion, as more people continue to see rail as one of the most climate-friendly ways to travel.
“With major line extensions as well as many smaller and larger modernisation works, ÖBB ultimately ensures an increasingly attractive public transport offer.
“One of the focal points is the eastern region, where important connections for commuters are being completed – such as the double-track expansion of the Pottendorf line.”
The Pottendorf line extension will enter its final phase in the Vienna area and between Münchendorf and Wampersdorf this year with completion of both sections, as well as the opening of the newly built Ebreichsdorf station, scheduled for Autumn.
Other projects includes the environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the construction of the Ebenfurth loop, which is already underway, and the opening of the new Wiener Neustadt parking deck with approximately 1,300 parking spaces is planned for September – around the same time as groundbreaking for the new Wiener Neustadt Civitas Nova station.
At the Semmering Railway, extensive renovation of the listed Kalte Rinne Viaduct will take place, and work on the Semmering Base Tunnel and the extension of the Northern Railway will also continue, improving the region’s most important north-south connection.
This year will also see the completion of the Vienna Süßenbrunn station and construction of the subway for the L6 state road in Deutsch-Wagram. Work will then begin on the modernisation of the Helmahof station.
Planning for the Meidling-Mödling four-track extension will continue this year, with the EIA scheduled for the second quarter.
Once completed, this extension will enable the frequency of S-Bahns to increase to every five minutes as well as provide additional connections between Vienna Meidling and Vienna Liesing. Between Vienna Liesing and Mödling, S-Bahn frequency will increase to every 10 minutes.
Work will continue along the western line too, including on the Tullnerbach-Pressbaum station and the construction of a foot and cycle path alongside the railway in Maria Anzbach; which is a prerequisite for a new station to be built.
In addition, this year the modernisation of Gramatneusiedl station will enter its main reconstruction phase and the Flughafenspange’s – a high-capacity line from Vienna Schwechat Airport to the east – EIA is scheduled for Q2.
In the capital city, key plans revolve around improving rail connections and train frequency, with work planned for the autumn on additional stops and more frequent S80 services.
On the city’s S-Bahn main line between Meidling and Floridsdorf, preliminary work for quality assurance is being carried out in order to guarantee long-term reliability in the entire system.
OEBB also has big modernisation plans for the regional railways. This year work will begin on the Nordwestbahn between Stockerau and Retz, with station modernisations and platform extensions.
Modernisation of the entire Kamptalbahn also begins in 2023, while electrification of the Traisental and Erlauftalbahn will continue.
In other areas, the operator also plans to roll out more barrier-free access systems to Park&Ride facilities that ensure spaces are available to rail travellers. This will be achieved through automatic number plate recognition and a ticket scanner at the exit column that ensures those using the facilities have a valid public transport ticket.
It also plans to optimise operations and merge freight stations and terminals to free up space to support urban development and invest in sustainability by rolling out renewable energy systems that use solar power.
In addition to implementing the above, OEBB must also continue maintaining its existing 5,000-kilometre-long network. In order to minimise disruption and maximise efficiency, the company plans to undertake multiple projects along certain sections at the same time.
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