AUSTRIAN Federal Railways (ÖBB) introduced the first of its new Railjet fleet on the Munich - Bologna service on April 8. The next generation of the Siemens-built inter-city train has been extended from six to eight coaches, plus a driving trailer, with capacity increased to 532 passengers.

Interior improvements include new individually adjustable seats that offer more privacy thanks to their wraparound headrest design. There are two folding tables per seat, footrests in all classes, integrated reading lights, and USB and wireless charging, as well as improved seat labels for easy orientation. First class and business class seats have leather covers and wood finishes.

Interior of economy class coach on a Vienna - Feldkirch working. Photo credit: Robin Ralston

A number of compartments are provided for families and groups in both economy and business class and the family zone offers space for small children to play. Dedicated quiet areas are available in economy and first class. Step-free boarding is possible thanks to the low-floor design of the Railjet coaches.

Raised seating areas offer the opportunity to store luggage directly beneath the seats. Large luggage areas throughout the train incorporate innovative locks that are unlocked using NFC or PIN code. Each train has six bicycle storage points, plus storage space for skis and snowboards.

The first of eight 230 km/h Railjets, ordered in 2018 from Siemens Mobility, are now in service on two pairs of Brenner Pass trains on the Munich - Innsbruck - Bolzano - Verona – Bologna route. They were originally put into operation before Easter to provide relief services on the Vienna - Feldkirch route. All of this batch are expected to be delivered by this autumn. Last month, ÖBB ordered a further 19 trains, which are due to enter service by autumn 2028.

At present trains are running with a Taurus locomotive at each end, but when authorisation for the driving trailers is received, the trains are expected to run in push-pull mode with a single Vectron locomotive.

Taurus locomotives are currently attached to the driving trailers until the latter are authorised for passenger service. Photo credit: Robin Ralston

“More and more people are choosing the train for their journeys,” says ÖBB CEO, Mr Andreas Matthä. “We are taking this positive development into account with an increase in modern trains. The route between Munich and northern Italy in particular is in very high demand and that's why I'm all the more pleased that we can offer our passengers more comfort and a first-class travel experience. The new Railjets are a highlight of our record €6.1bn investment in new trains.”

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