The funds will be disbursed in three tranches of €600m over the next three years and will fund work on the 27.3km dual-bore Semmering base tunnel between Gloggnitz and Mürzzuschlag, the new 55-hectare South Vienna freight terminal, and track doubling on the 24km Pottensdorf Line between Hennersdorf, Münchendorf, and Wampersdorf.

"The upgrading of the Southern Route is a crucial project for railways and for Austria as an economic hub," says Mr Josef Halbmay, chief financial officer of ÖBB Holding. "We are creating the conditions for faster and less polluting mobility. Under this partnership with the EIB, we are financing this economically-beneficial project on favourable terms."

The EIB says the loan supports its objective of delivering sustainable transport in an important TEN corridor by promoting a shift from road to rail. "This is fully consistent with the Bank's transport guidelines aimed at making railway transport more competitive and attractive for railway customers."