Austria runs on high speed

Koralm rail tunnel is in full process of construction in the south-east of Austria. ÖBB Infrastruktur, the infrastructure division of Austrian Railways, is in charge with the implementation of the project, part of the Baltic-Adriatic TEN-T Corridor that stretches over 2,400 km from Gdansk to Gdynia, located on the northern coast of Poland and, via Warsaw and Vienna, up to Bologna and Ravenna, both cities in the north of Italy. Semmering rail tunnel, about which you can read more on the previous page, is also part of the Baltic-Adriatic rail Corridor.

The two rail tunnels, Koralm and Semmering, will have direct connection, after the finalisation of works.
Just as the Semmering tunnel, Koralm tunnel is integrated part of a railway, Koralm high-speed railway connecting the cities of Klagenfurt (capital of Carinthia land) and Graz (capital of Styria land), considerably reducing the travel time between the two cities, from the present three hours to less than one hour.
Works are estimated to cost EUR 11 billion and include the construction of a double, electrified railway with a length of 130 km, 12 stations and stops, as well as a new 32.9 km tunnel, the longest tunnel ever built in Austria.
Koralm railway will be operational by 2023 and will facilitate de daily transit of up to 256 high-speed trains with a capacity of 250 km/h.
Koralm railway will begin its route south of Graz and will run parallel to Southern Railway up to Werndorf, passing through Hengsberg and Lassnitz Valley through a tunnel to Deutschlandsberg. The route then enters Koralm tunnel east of Deutschlandsberg and opens to Lavant Valley between St Andra and St Paul. After crossing Lavant Valley, it enters Granitz Valley crossing under Langenberg Mountain through Granitz chain of tunnels.
Koralm tunnel, under Koralpe mountain area between the provinces of Carinthia and Styria, creates the central section of Koralm railway. The Austrian double rail tunnel will include two parallel monodirectional galleries interconnected through 500-m long passageways. Currently, this is the biggest such project developed in Austria meant to expand the Austrian railway network. Koralm Tunnel, next to Semmering rail tunnel, will eliminate the bottlenecks on the Austrian railway infrastructure.
The tunnel will also be equipped with a telecommunications system including emergency boxes, video survey, speakers, air control, fire alarms, radiocommunications for train control, public communication cable system, signalling and tracking systems, detection systems etc. All these, plus the routes and the two rail stations, will be mainly charged from renewable energy sources.
ÖBB Infrastruktur believes that, once built and operational, the new railway should facilitate a sustainable economic growth of 0.3-0.6% per year for Styria Province. Also, the railway should support the economic growth of the whole region of 0.1-0.3% a year, including for the adjacent areas from Slovenia, Slovakia and Hungary. Koralm railway will facilitate a much more fluent flow of railway traffic from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea and return, and from Russia in both hinterlands of the two seas, boosting the economic benefits initially anticipated by the European Union.

by Elena Ilie

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