Austria - Older General Information
This document acts as an archive for Recent and Future Changes prior to December 2017.
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 24.7km St Pölten avoiding line opened on 10 December 2017. Although primarily for freight, it is used occasionally by relief passenger trains.
The residual passenger service, mainly for school traffic, between Wolfsberg and Bad St. Leonhard (KBS620) was definitively withdrawn on 10 December 2017. It had been operated by replacement bus since 5 March 2017. The line remains in use for freight.
The 4.6km southern extension of Wien U-Bahn line U1 from Reumannplatz to Oberlaa opened on 2 September 2017; from the same date, tram 67 ceased to run south of Reumannplatz.
The Reißeckbahn, which consisted of a three-section funicular (Reißeck-Standseilbahn) from Kolbnitz, on the Villach to Schwarzach-St Veit line, to Schoberboden, and a narrow-gauge line (Reißeck-Höhenbahn) from Schoberboden to Reißeck-Hotel, closed in two stages. The narrow-gauge line suffered severe flood damage on 1 August 2014 and was definitively closed with effect from 7 September 2014. The track was lifted in 2017. The funicular closed in 2016, initially because of construction work at Schoberboden, but the closure was made permanent in February 2017. The Kreuzeckbahn, a funicular on the other side of the valley at Kolbnitz, continues to operate.
The Arnoldstein - Kötschach-Mauthen line was closed beyond Hermagor in December 2016; however the remaining section was subsequently electrified.
The line from Weiz Bahnhof to Weiz Zentrum opened on 4 June 2016 when the line to the original terminus at Weiz (formerly Weiz Stadt) was closed.
The tourist line from Weiz to Oberfestritz was temporarily closed following the last train on 24 December 2014 owing to the poor condition of the Bachl viaduct and the Hardt-Puch tunnel. The Oberfeistritz - Birkfeld section was leased to Club U44, which moved all its rolling stock to the then cut off Birkfeld. However patronage fell considerably in 2015 so the Steiermark Region sold the entire line to the Feistritztalbahn Betriebsges.m.b.H. in February 2016 for a nominal €1 and contributed €235,000 for repairs. The line reopened for seasonal passenger service throughout between Birkfeld and Weiz in April 2016 (see Tourist Lines).
Operation by Lavamünder Bahn- und Betriebs GesmbH (LBB) on the closed line between St.Paul and Lavamünd ceased in 2015 - see press report (in German).
A 2.8 km extension of the Salzburger Lokalbahn (SLB) from Trimmelkam to Ostermeithing was inaugurated on 12 December 2014.
Wien Hauptbahnhof was officially opened on 10 October 2014 (although work continued until opening of all facilities - with through services, use of newly built flyovers at the west end and diveunders at the east end - could take place). All long-distance trains from the Westbahn - which formerly used Wien Westbahnhof - now use the Lainzer tunnel and Hauptbahnhof - the replacement for Südbahnhof. The new station had been partially opened on 9 December 2012, in connection with which two U Bahn stations were renamed; Wien Südbahnhof became Quartier Belvedere, and Südtirolerplatz became Wien Hauptbahnhof. At the same time the metro station Südtirolerplatz became Südtirolerplatz-Hauptbahnhof. A new motive power and carriage depot has been built on what has been freight yard and sidings at Matzleinsdorfer Platz between Wien Süd and Meidling.
In December 2014 a flyover was opened across Kledering Yard (Wien Zvbf) to connect the Wien – Hegyeshalom line with Kaiserebersdorf. This provides a direct route between the new Hauptbahnhof and Flughafen Wien (VIE) (the airport), used twice hourly by railjet and Intercity services, as an alternative to the City Airport Train and S7 route to Wien Mitte.
The Wien Hadersdorf - Meidling – Wien Hütteldorf section of the Neue Westbahn opened to freight in late 2012 and to passenger services to Wien Hauptbahnhof in December 2014.
The limited passenger services to/from Wien Westbahnhof to Tulln and beyond via the Tullnerfeld avoiding curve off the Neue Westbahn were rerouted to/from Tulln to terminate at Tullnerfeld station at the December 2014 timetable change.
In early 2014 the metre gauge branch from Vorchdorf-Eggenberg was slightly shortened when its terminal station, Gmunden Seebahnhof, was relocated inland to a new site between Gmunden Traundorf and the old Seebahnhof. Construction started in March 2014 of a new connecting line from this new station to Rathausplatz. The initial section from Seebahnhof to Klosterplatz opened on 14 December 2014. The closed section of the Gmunden town tram line from Rathausplatz to Franz Josef Platz was rebuilt, providing a through route between Gmunden Bahnhof and Vorchdorf-Eggenberg, and opened on 1 September 2018. A sketch map is available.
The seasonal service on the Korneuburg – Ernstbrunn branch ceased in 2014 but had resumed by 2016 with a changed operator Regiobahn. Regiobahn have aspirations to restore regular all-year service to the line.
The Kammer-Schoerfling branch was cut back by around 500m in June 2014, thus eliminating 2 level crossings. A new terminal station was opened on the west side of the current line at a slightly lower level, involving around 200m of new alignment.
The Wien Liesing – Waldmühle branch, which had no booked traffic other than excursions operated by Verein Pro Kaltenleutgebnerbahn, was legally closed in January 2014 but the preservation organisation have resumed services, including some through trips to and from central Wien, since 3 September 2017.
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.
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 4 km 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.
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 Bad Pirawarth - Sulz Museumsdorf (originally proposed to be Groß Schweinbarth - Bad Pirawarth - 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 am Hausruck 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 kilometres 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. They have now resumed occasional operations as far as Waldhausen but the section beyond there to Martinsberg remains closed.
Possibly as long ago as 2006, Wien S-Bahn services ceased to use the section between Stadlau (Erzherzogkarlstrasse south junction) and Gerasdorf (Süssenbrunn Nord (Sun)) via Kagran, all running instead via Leopoldau. The section between Stadlau (Erzherzogkarlstrasse south junction) and Süssenbrunn 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).