AUSTRIAN Federal Railways (ÖBB) has ordered more double-deck trains under its framework agreement with Stadler, comprising 14 six-car double-deck Railjet EMUs for inter-city services and 21 four-car Cityjet EMUs for local services in eastern Austria worth a total of around €600m, split roughly 50:50.
The first Railjet Kiss double-deck trains are scheduled to enter service on the Vienna - Salzburg - Innsbruck route in 2026, where ÖBB competes with open-access operator Westbahn which also uses Kiss trains. The new Railjet trains will also be deployed on the Vienna - Graz route when the 27.3km Semmering base tunnel is completed in 2030.
The double-deck Railjet trains will supplement ÖBB’s fleet of single-deck push-pull Railjet trains supplied by Siemens. ÖBB has decided to order double-deck EMUs rather than more single-deck trains to meet a surge in demand.
“The passenger boom at ÖBB is continuing,” says ÖBB CEO, Mr Andreas Matthä. “In long-distance transport, a total of 41.6 million passengers were recorded in 2022 - we were even able to surpass our previous record year of 2019.
“Not only are we very proud of this result, we are also taking further measures to further increase the capacity in our trains. We are investing in the heart of our long-distance transport - the Railjet - and will expand the existing fleet for the first time with modern Railjet double-deck trains.”
Each six-car Railjet double-deck train will be 160m long and have around 480 seats, almost 19% more than a seven-car single-deck Railjet. The trains will have a maximum speed of 200km/h, lower than the 230km/h for the Siemens Railjet fleet. However, the Stadler trains will have a high rate of acceleration which ÖBB says is ideal for operation on long-distance routes with frequent stops. The trains will have 12 doors per side with spacious low-floor vestibules to speed boarding and alighting.
The new Railjet trains will have catering zones with vending machines for snacks and drinks, sockets including USB ports in every row of seats, free Wi-Fi and access to the onboard portal ÖBB Railnet. The trains will have a real-time passenger information system, automatic air-conditioning and onboard CCTV. For passengers with reduced mobility, there will be two wheelchair spaces in the centre of the train with height-adjustable side wall tables. There will be space for eight bicycles on each train.
The order for 21 four-car Cityjet double-deck trains is worth around €300m and follows the first call under the framework deal with Stadler which was made in April 2022 for 20 six-car and 21 four-car Cityjet double-deck EMUs. The first of the new trains is expected to enter service in Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland at the beginning of 2026.
“People in Austria want to travel in a climate-friendly manner, as shown by the KlimaTicket, which has already been sold 237,000 times," says climate protection minister, Ms Leonore Gewessler.
“People are willing to switch to public transport if it is cheap, convenient and attractive. With the new double-deck trains, ÖBB is meeting this demand. We need rail as a strong backbone of public transport, it supports our common path towards climate-friendly mobility and a climate-friendly future.”
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