The project has the backing of the recently-elected Austrian government, and the CEO of Russian Railways (RZD), Mr Oleg Belozerov, signed an agreement on cooperation in freight and passenger services with Mr Andreas Matthä, CEO of Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), at the Strategic Partnership 1520 conference held in Vienna on February 20-22.

Austria’s Ministry of Transport says that an environmental impact assessment will be carried out jointly with Slovakia, and the final planning phase will begin soon. This could enable construction to start in 2024, with opening of the line envisaged in 2033.

The transhipment terminal between broad and standard gauge is likely to be built near Parndorf, 40km east of Vienna.