ÖBB has begun high-speed train tests on Koralmbahn with a dedicated measurement train running at speeds of up to 250 km/h on the new railway line between Klagenfurt and Wiederndorf-Aich.
The train is equipped with numerous sensors that accurately record vibrations, power supply and signal strengths. This is necessary to test the overhead line and the radio system under real conditions. At the same time, the high-speed train tests are a prerequisite for official approvals. The Koralmbahn is designed to allow trains to operate at a maximum speed of 250 km/h.
The Koralmbahn testing programme includes the superstructure and further tests cover the functionality of the European Train Controlling System (ETCS) which controls the speed and direction of trains ensuring high performance and safety.
In June 2023, ÖBB deployed the first passenger train crossing the Koralm tunnel with several officials on board including the governors of Carinthia and Styria, transport councilors of the two regions and ÖBB Infrastruktur representatives.
One month later, the Austrian railway company launched the trials on Koralmbahn Drau Bridge which will be the longest railway bridge in Carinthia.
The first section of the new line between Klagenfurt and St. Paul im Lavanttal will enter passenger operation at the end of this year while the remaining section be opened in 2025, when trains will run directly from Graz to Klagenfurt. The travel time along the entire line linking Styria and Carinthia will be shortened to 45 minutes from currently three hours. The 137 km Koralm Railway is crossing the Koralpe massif through 47 km of tunnels, of which 33 kilometres in the Koralm Tunnel more than 100 bridges and includes 23 stations and stops of which 12 along the new section of line.
Under ÖBB Investment Plan (ÖBB Rahmenplan) 2023 – 2028, the Koralmbahn project will receive more than EUR 6 billion by 2025.
The Koralm Railway is part of the new Southern Line in Austria which includes 100 projects covering the modernisation of 200 km of railway lines and the construction of 170 km of tracks with 80 km of tunnels and 150 new bridges. In 2030, the Southern Line will allow direct train services between Vienna and Klagenfurt on a 2h40m journey. The entire Southern Line project includes the Korlambahn and Semmering Base Tunnel, Pottendorfer Line, Meidling–Mödling. The 470 km Southern Line will pass through Semmering and the Koralpe mountains.