AMBITIOUS plans to increase local rail travel by 10 000 trips a day came to fruition on December 7 when the first stage of a S-Bahn network was launched in the Austrian city of Graz.

Hourly, half-hourly or quarter-hourly trains run on routes to Bruck an der Mur, Übelbach, Köflach, Wies-Eibiswald, Spielfeld-Straß and Fehring, with 75 more trains a day operating than in the previous timetable. Services are operated by Austrian Federal Railways, Graz Köflacher Bahn and Steiermärksche Landesbahnen.

Further stages of the project will include infrastructure improvements costing €2·8bn and the acquisition of more new rolling stock. Future destinations for S-Bahn services include Welz and Bad Gleichenberg, currently served by regional trains.