AUSTRIA: The first phase of modernisation work on the Wien – Marchegg – Bratislava route was formally inaugurated on November 30, paving the way for expansion of the Austrian capital’s S-Bahn network with the December 9 timetable change.

Double-tracking and electrification of the 3·7 km section between Erzherzog-Karl-Straße and a new interchange with metro line U2 at Wien Aspern Nord has taken two years. The existing station at Hirschstetten has been completely remodelled, and road underpasses built to grade-separate two level crossings. Noise barriers have also been installed along the route.

VIPs joining ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG Managing Director Michaela Huber for the inauguration ceremony included the European Commission’s Representative in Austria Jörg Wojahn, and Wien’s Councillor for the Environment Ulli Sima, along with Gerhard Schödinger, representing the Governor of Niederösterreich Johanna Mikl-Leitner. Completion of the upgrading work enables ÖBB to extend its S-Bahn route S80 to Aspern Nord.

Electrification and double-tracking of the Marchegger Ostbahn is due to be finished by 2023. Once completed, this will allow the journey time between Wien Hbf and Bratislava hlavní to be reduced from 66 to 40 min.

Work on the second phase of the project began in August. This includes electrification of the 33·4 km between Aspern Nord and the Slovakian border near Marchegg, as well as double-tracking of 7·6 km between Siebenbrunn-Leopoldsdorf and Schönfeld-Lassee. Seven stations are to be modernised, including the construction of new park-and-ride facilities.