Semmering rail tunnel, the jewel of Austria

Semmering rail tunnel will connect Gloggnitz to Mürzzuschlag, located in Styria region, Austria. Semmering is part of the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor and, at the same time, one of the most important railway infrastructure projects in Central Europe.

Once completed, the double, 27.3-km tunnel will be one of the longest railway tunnels in the world. Construction works were launched in 2014 and will be completed in 2026. It is built by Austrian Railways (ÖBB) at an estimated cost of EUR 3.3 million.
The 41-km Semmering railway has been the first such railway to cross the Alps. Every year, more than 70,000 freight and passenger trains cross the mountains making Semmering railway one of the busiest routes in Austria.
The only solution to solve this problem, of transport capacity as well as the environmental problem, was to build a rail tunnel.
The new rail project will have two separate, parallel tunnels, each with a 10-m diameter and will facilitate de traffic of trains at speeds of 250 km/h. It will also reduce travel time between Vienna and Graz by 30 minutes, to just 2 hours.
Freight and passenger traffic in the European Union requires a transport route to connect the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea, a route that facilitates the opening of new transport markets and the development of new regions, a direct advantage for Austria.
The new Semmering tunnel, next to Vienna’s new main station and the new Koralm railway, will jointly create an attractive solution for railway traffic, stimulating regional development in the south and east of Austria.
Unlike the 41-km railway that crosses the Alps, the 27.3-km tunnel has a very small gradient of just 0.84%. This means that even heavy goods trains of up to 1,600 tonnes that cross the southern route every day can be hauled by one locomotive. The base tunnel enables speeds of up to 250 km/h along the Semmering section. Consequently, its combines without problems with the TEN-T passenger and freight high-speed network and provides a modern comfort level.
Semmering rail tunnel will have a major connection role in the middle of Europe, facilitating traffic not just in Austria, but also that from Germany to Italy.

by Elena Ilie

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