OeBB infrastucture plan 2024-29 (Photo OeBB) (1)

AUSTRIA: The federal government has announced a €21·1bn railway infrastructure investment plan for 2024–29, an increase on the previous plans to spend €19bn in 2023-28. This includes the addition of projects worth €1·5bn.

‘With this framework investment plan, we are securing the railway expansion programme in the long term’, said Leonore Gewessler, Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation & Technology, on October 30.

ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä said ‘in a challenging economic environment, we managed to secure financing for railway infrastructure projects. This means that ÖBB is not only a reliable mobility provider which can meet increasing demand through consistent expansion, but also a stable partner to the economy.’

An addition, €4·7bn has been allocated for the maintenance of existing infrastructure in 2024-29.

Graz-Köflacher-Bahn infrastructure projects are also included in the plan, with its infrastructure division to be integrated into the national ÖBB-Infrastruktur in mid-2024.

OeBB infrastucture plan 2024-29 (Photo OeBB) (2)

The investment aims to increase capacity on heavily used routes and make regional rail travel more attractive.

One of the most important projects is a new double track alignment between Köstendorf and Salzburg, as part of the four-track expansion of the east-west main line.

The line south of Graz from Werndorf to the Slovenian border at Spielfeld-Straß will be doubled to increase capacity towards southeast Europe and the port of Koper. The line between Nettingsdorf and Rohr-Bad Hall will also be doubled.

Modernisation works are also planned on the Herzogenburg – St Pölten and Ossiachersee lines.

Another focus is on increasing the use of renewable energy, with ÖBB to develop wind and solar power plants to supply traction electricity

A number of stations are to be modernised to improve accessibility including Maishofen-Saalbach and Leogang to serve the Alpine Ski World Cup in 2025.

Schedule changes

OeBB (Photo Toma Bacic) (2)

The completion date for double-tracking of the 9 km Hinterstoder – Pießling-Vorderstoder section of the Pyhrnstrecke has been brought forward from late 2031 to next year.

However, some projects have been delayed. The start of route modernisation work on the 66 km northern section of the Nordbahn linking Wien with Breclav in the Czech Republic has been pushed back by two years, double-tracking of sections of the Franz Josef Bahn between the capital and Gmünd has been postponed by three years, and modernisation of the cross-city Wiener Stammstrecke is now scheduled to start in 2025. Quadrupling of a section of the Wien – Salzburg Weststrecke east of Linz has been postponed by a year to the end of 2033, and the Linz – Marchtrenk upgrading has also been deferred by a year to the end of 2031.

Elsewhere, electrification between Wien and Bratislava is scheduled for completion at the end of 2024, depending on the progress on the Slovak side.

The construction schedule for the northern access route to the Brenner Base Tunnel including a new alignment from Schaftenau to Radfeld, north of Wörgl, is also set to be amended. As construction is dependent on work on other interventions along the Brenner corridor, the start of main construction is to be pushed back to 2028 with commissioning of the route scheduled for 2037.

The Kärnten section of the Koralmbahn is due for inauguration at the end of this year, two years before the full commissioning between Graz and Klagenfurt in 2025.