ÖBB’s Upper Austria railway modernization plan will see 81% of lines electrified

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Austria’s national rail operator, ÖBB, has revealed details about its rail expansion and modernization program currently being undertaken in Upper Austria, which will see more lines electrified, stations modernized, and new tracks laid to cope with growing passenger rail numbers.

Upper Austria Infrastructure and Mobility Provincial Councilor Günther Steinkellner & ÖBB Infrastructure Board Member Judith Engel
Upper Austria Infrastructure and Mobility Provincial Councilor Günther Steinkellner & ÖBB Infrastructure Board Member Judith Engel

The project is part of the ÖBB Framework Plan, which includes €2.5bn for Upper Austria, and the infrastructure measures in the Attractiveness Package 2019, both of which aim to accelerate the climate-friendly transport transition in the country.  

According to ÖBB, this year alone around 250 construction projects will be implemented throughout Upper Austria.

“I am very grateful that ÖBB in Upper Austria has a strong and reliable partner in Landesrat Steinkellner. Together, we will continue to develop Upper Austria step by step into a railway model country. We are only at the beginning. It’s time for people to gain sustainable and future-proof transport solutions,” said Judith Engel, ÖBB Infrastructure board member.

Günther Steinkellner, state councilor for infrastructure and mobility, continued, “The expansion and joint attractiveness of our Upper Austrian rail landscape is not a sprint, but a marathon. Our comprehensive work package in the form of the Upper Austrian Infrastructure Offensive is being processed consistently and dynamically. This package is not only a concrete contribution to environmental protection, but also a strengthening for Upper Austria’s regions.

“Around 56% of the Upper Austrian population lives in rural areas. With the preservation and attractiveness of our regional railways, we are sending a strong signal to invest in the special features and characteristic characteristics of the region and to secure mobility in rural areas,” he added.

As part of the Upper Austria project comprehensive line electrification is planned so that trains can operate in a climate-neutral manner with 100% green traction current. Currently, 64% of the Upper Austrian railway lines are electrified, after the implementation of the electrification projects on the Mattigtal, Danube Bank, Innkreis and Alm Valley railways (in the Wels – Sattledt section), the share will be 81%.

The Pyhrn route will also be further strengthened. The double-track extension of the Pyhrn line from Hinterstoder – Pießling –Vorderstoder is currently being planned, as well as the Nettingsdorf – Rohr-Bad Hall section in the next step. In addition, there is the current planning project, which aims to build a new Bosruck tunnel by 2040.

Furthermore, ÖBB plans to expand the Western Line in Upper Austria to four tracks. According to the rail firm, the western section is the main artery of rail traffic in Upper Austria and at the same time the most powerful railway line in Austria. Most recently, long-distance passengers recorded an increase of 15% compared to the record year 2019.

The important east-west connection will continue to be expanded to four tracks piece by piece to further increase the line’s capacities for climate-friendly passenger and freight traffic. In 2018, the four-track expansion of the east side of Linz Central Station was completed. In 2019, construction work began on the west side of the station. The Marchtrenk – Wels section has been under construction since last year. Further tracks between Linz-Marchtrenk and later between Linz Kleinmünchen and the Ostkopf will follow.

ÖBB is also investing in modern and barrier-free mobility hubs, which are connected to public transport and set up for scooter and car sharing.