Austria - Older General Information
This document acts as an archive for Recent and Future Changes prior to September 2012.
Rule of the road
Most double track lines in Austria operate with right-hand running, although many lines in the east of the country once operated with left-hand running, a hangover from the days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Wien to Salzburg line was converted some years ago. The following lines converted to right-hand running on 6 August 2012:
- Wien Floridsdorf – Bernhardsthal (Bernhardsthal – Břeclav ČD converted on 9 December 2012)
- Wien Rennweg – Flughafen
- Wampersdorf – Wiener Neustadt Civitas Nova
- Wien Hbf – Payerbach-Reichenau
- Wien Hütteldorf/Penzing – Wien Meidling
- Wien Meidling – Wien Floridsdorf
- Wien Floridsdorf – Stockerau
- Wien Süßenbrunn – Wolkersdorf
The Deutschkreutz to Oberloisdorf line, which had a limited passenger service as far as Neckenmarkt-Horitschon, was expected to close in December 2012. In the event the passenger service was briefly reprieved and final trains ran on 28 June 2013.
Club Florianerbahn's operation between St. Florian and Pichling See (900 mm gauge, formerly part of Linz tram system) ceased (believed 2012) because of track condition but the club still aspire to reopen the line.
The Wörgl – Baumkirchen tunnel line opened in December 2012, although signalling issues meant that, initially, it was only used by Railjet services. See Lines_with_Obscure_or_Sparse_passenger_services: Wörgl Kundl - Volders-Baumkirchen.
In September 2012 a 4km section of new alignment opened between Lambach and Breitenschützing as part of line improvements on the Wels – Salzburg route.
The Schneebergbahn, ÖBB's mountain rack railway (transferred in 1997 to a company in which ÖBB and the local Province had equal shareholdings) from 1 January 2012 became wholly owned by the province; it is now run by their operating company, NÖVOG. Regular services have been extended to the Hotel platforms at the Summit.
ÖBB has withdrawn freight services from many branch or secondary lines, and all their former narrow gauge lines have been either closed or transferred to other operators.
An 800 metre new alignment on the Zell am See to Krimml branch, between Uttendorf-Stubachtal and Pirtendorf, opened in November 2011, avoiding tight curves and numerous level crossings.
In November 2011, Südburgenländische Regionalbahn - which had leased (or purchased) former ÖBB lines between Oberschützen, Oberwart (exclusive), Großpetersdorf and Rechnitz for freight traffic - ceased operations - see press report (in German). They had previously also operated tourist services and had sub-leased the Oberschützen branch for seasonal operation by Freunde der Bahnstrecke Oberwart-Oberschützen (FROWOS), the latter ceasing after the 2011 season - see press report (in German).
On 2 October 2011 Wien metro line U2 was extended at its eastern end from Stadion to Aspernstrasse, and was subsequently extended further, to Seestadt.
In September 2011 a new alignment opened on the Lieboch to Köflach branch, between Krottendorf and Söding.
The line from Friedberg to Oberwart (table 520) lost its passenger service with effect from 1 August 2011. On the same date the service between Deutschkreutz and Neckenmarkt-Horitschon was reduced to three rush-hour services each way, and an hourly Monday to Saturday service was introduced between Klagenfurt and Weizelsdorf (table 660), the remainder of this line only seeing a single early morning train from Rosenbach (and due to close from December 2016).
The following lines (preceded by table number) closed at the timetable change on 11 December 2010:
- 113 Schrambach - Markt St.- Aegyd am Neuwalde
- 115 Ober Grafendorf - Mank
- 120 Scheibbs - Kienberg-Gaming
- 132 Gstadt - Lunz am See and Gstadt - Ybbsitz. These lines had already been closed since mid 2009 owing to floods. The section from Waidhofen to Gstadt has remained open, operated by NOVÖG.
- 811 Krems an der Donau - Emmersdorf an der Donau. This has reopened for tourist services operated by NOVÖG.
- 830 Schwarzenau - Zwettl Stadt
- 831 Schwarzenau - Waidhofen an der Thaya
- 912 Groß Schweinbarth - Sulz Museumsdorf
The sole remaining school train each way between Zeltweg and Bad St. Leonhard (table 620) was withdrawn from 31 July 2010.
The Stern und Hafferl line between Lambach and Haag lost its passenger service from 13 December 2009 as no way had been found to retain the connection when the Westbahn was upgraded west of Lambach.
From 13 December 2009 a new alignment opened between Atzenbrugg and a point two kilometers east of the new Tullnerfeld station, on the Herzogenburg to Tulln line, and the intermediate stations of Michelhausen and Judenau closed. The new line runs alongside (north of) the Neue Westbahn high speed Wien to St Pölten line. The old alignment was de-electrified but mostly retained for freight. Also, two spurs opened: a 1.8 km west to north chord at Tulln and a 0.9 km south to east chord at Absdorf-Hippersdorf; the former subsequently gained a limited passenger service providing connections from the new Tullnerfeld station.
From 13 December 2009, work on the Wien Hauptbahnhof project had resulted in services to Bruck an der Leitha, and to Stadlau, and beyond using a temporary station Wien Südbahnhof (Ost), 150 m to the south of the old station site. Services to Wiener Neustadt and beyond ran from Wien Meidling. These arrangements ceased again after 8 December 2012.
Salzburger Lokalbahn took over the operation of ÖBB's narrow gauge Zell am See – Krimml line on 1 July 2008.
Work on the new Wien Hauptbahnhof project started in 2007.
Electrification between Mistelbach and Laa an der Thaya was completed for use in December 2006. Graz Don Bosco station opened 7 September 2007.
Martinsberg-Gutenbrunn – Zwettl closed completely and lost its occasional service by local preservationists; instead, Museums-Lokalbahnverein Zwettl now operate on the freight line between Zwettl and Schwarzenau.
Possibly as long ago as 2006, Wien S-Bahn services ceased to use the section between Stadlau (Erzherzogkarlstrasse south junction) and Gerasdorf (Süssenbrun Nord (Sun)) via Kagran, all running instead via Leopoldau. The section between Stadlau (Erzherzogkarlstrasse south junction) and Süssenbrun Süd (Sus) is, however, still used by through non-stop trains between Wien Hauptbahnhof and Breclav.
The new entrance to St Pölten from the east (Knoten Wagram) was completed in August 2005. This includes tracks from the Neue Westbahn (Wienerwald Tunnel – Tullnerfeld).
New lines opened during the decade 2000 - 2010 include:
- Innsbruck avoiding line, linking the Brenner and Wörgl lines (this is used only by freight trains)
- Tunnel for fast trains between Leoben Hbf and St Michael
- Diversion of the Tauernbahn, mostly in tunnels, between Lindisch and Mallnitz
- The double track Schlierbach Umfahrung (bypass) on the Linz – Selztal line
- Double tracking of Kolbnitz – Pusarnitz on the Tauernbahn
- Double tracking Meidling – Inzersdorf
Information and links on ÖBB major projects (in German) at www.oebb.at/vip8/bau/de/Projekte_Planung_und_Bau/index.jsp this site.
Over a long period, ÖBB has been withdrawing freight services from many branch or secondary lines, and all their former narrow gauge lines have been either closed or transferred to other operators. The Schneebergbahn, ÖBB's mountain rack railway in 1997 transferred to a company in which ÖBB and the local Province had equal shareholdings (from 1 January 2012 became wholly owned by the province).