THE first passenger train has operated through the 33km Koralm tunnel in Austria, which forms part of the new line with a maximum speed of 250km/h under construction between Graz and Klagenfurt.

The special train carried invited guests including Mr Peter Kaiser, the governor of Carinthia province, and Mr Christopher Drexler, the governor of Styria, accompanied by ÖBB Infrastructure board member, Ms Judith Engel, and project leader, Mr Klaus Schneider.

The Koralm tunnel has taken 15 years to complete. The tunnel has twin bores with an internal diameter of 10m, connected by cross-passages every 500m.

Construction required the excavation of 6 million m³ of material and the installation of 160,000 concrete tunnel lining segments, as well as 13,000 track slabs.

The 130km Koralm railway has a total of 47km in tunnel, as well as over 100 bridges and 23 stations.

The first section between Klagenfurt and St Paul im Lavanttal is due to enter service at the end of this year, and when the entire line opens by the end of 2025 it will cut the journey time between Graz and Klagenfurt to 45 minutes.

Photo Credit: OBB/Chris Zenz

“The Koralm railway is in the final straight and on schedule,” says Engel.

“In just two and a half years, passengers will be travelling through the middle of the Koralpe mountains in an environmentally-friendly and relaxing way and in in less than an hour from Graz to Klagenfurt.

“We are literally leaving the car behind and are creating the mobility of the future.”

“Our federal states are moving even closer together, distances are becoming smaller, mobility is becoming more environmentally friendly,” Kaiser says.

“With the Koralm tunnel and the Koralm railway as part of a transport axis connecting Europe, huge new opportunities are emerging from which our children and grandchildren will also benefit.”

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