AUSTRIAN Secretary of State for Transport Helmut Kukacka published proposals on May 6 to break up Austrian Federal Railways. Legislation to implement the plans is intended to be in place by the end of this year so that restructuring can go ahead in 2004.

The plans call for four subsidiary companies to be set up under a holding organisation. Separate entities would be responsible for infrastructure, freight and passenger traffic. The fourth company would be charged with management of staff and property, and staff employed by this organisation would be seconded to other companies as required. This would open up the opportunity for ÖBB to reduce the number of staff employed below the current figure of 48500, with up to 15000 staff seconded to companies outside the railway - Kuckaka said that staff productivity at ÖBB is about 30% worse than on other European railways.

Kuckacka added that the proposed structure was designed to reduced state payments to ÖBB, which currently total around €4·4bn a year.

  • In 2002 ÖBB carried 184·4 million passengers and 87·8 million tonnes of freight.