WORK has begun on the Vienna S-Bahn upgrade project, starting with the 13km Vienna main line between Meidling and Floridsdorf stations.

To mark the start of work to upgrade the “Pink Line,” the busiest in Austria, a groundbreaking ceremony was held at the Handelskai S-Bahn station, attended by climate protection minister, Ms Leonore Gewessler, city councillor for mobility, Ms Ulli Sima, and ÖBB Infrastructure board member, Ms Judith Engel.

The Vienna S-Bahn upgrade is being implemented by Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), the Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) and the City of Vienna to meet growing demand on the eastern section of the S-Bahn network, which is experiencing the fastest increase in ridership in Austria. The three partners agreed in April 2022 to invest €2.4bn to improve the S-Bahn network in the Vienna area by 2034 under the second Vienna Rail Package.

The line and structural engineering systems will be comprehensively modernised by December 2027, while the implementation of ETCS Level 2 will allow services to operate every 2min 30s during peak periods. Services will also be able to recover from delays and disruption more quickly.

The S-Bahn main line carries around 700 trains a day, serving around 250,000 passengers on working days, but some sections have been in operation for around 150 years and are due for a comprehensive upgrade.

While work has begun at Handelskai and Traisengasse, other work that cannot be undertaken without disrupting services will be concentrated in the summer months, with trains not operating between Floridsdorf and Praterstern in July and August of 2024, 2025 and 2026.

The main construction work will take place between autumn 2025 and autumn 2027. This will involve renewal of structures such as viaducts, bridges, retaining walls and the rail infrastructure between Praterstern and Vienna main station and will require a 14-month line closure between Praterstern and Vienna main station from September 2026 to October 2027.

At the end of 2027, the final track upgrades will be carried out on the Rennweg - Meidling section. To minimise the impact on passengers, ÖBB, the City of Vienna and public transport operator Wiener Linien are developing a comprehensive replacement transport programme.

In addition to the modernisation of the main line, stabling and turnback facilities will also be built on the northern, northwestern and southern lines, optimising a total of 170 track-km. Platform extensions will allow the operation of longer trains, increasing capacity by 40% by 2028, while investment in new track, points, catenary and the construction of new stabling and turnback facilities will ensure safe and punctual operation in the long term.