September 21, 2015

Westbahn expands to meet demand

Written by  Erwin Reidinger
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Westbahn expands to meet demand Erwin Reidinger

AUSTRIAN open-access operator Westbahn has announced it will introduce additional Friday, Saturday and Sunday peak services between Vienna and Linz from October 2 to accommodate rising demand.

Westbahn will operate some trains in multiple by using its seventh EMU, which is usually kept as a maintenance reserve. The company says that this move will only have a very limited impact on performance due to high availability of the Stadler Kiss trains.

However, from October 16, Westbahn will hire a locomotive and four coaches from German Rail (DB), which will be used on Vienna - Linz services. These trains will have a lower-specification interior than Westbahn's EMUs and will branded "Formel 5" to distinguish them from its other services. The name indicates that a price of €5 is being charged for each leg of the trip (Vienna - St.Pölten, St.Pölten - Amstetten, and Amstetten - Linz). If these services are commercially successful they may continue to operate in 2016.

From December, Vienna – Salzburg journey times will be cut by four minutes to 2h 26min and there will also be an additional express Salzburg - Vienna West service in the morning with only one intermediate stop at Linz. This will offer a 2h 10min journey time between the two cities, Westbahn's fastest service. Austrian Federal Railways' (ÖBB) will also accelerate its fastest Vienna - Salzburg Railjet service from December, but this will still be slower than Westbahn with a journey time of 2h 22min .

A Salzburg - Innsbruck train (out in the evening and back in the morning) is still in the planning phase as there are problems with path allocation in the Innsbruck area and capacity constraints between Salzburg and Kufstein due to engineering possessions planned by German infrastructure manager DB Networks.

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