In recent years two sections of the 760mm-gauge line have been doubled, new locomotives have been bought and a half hourly passenger service has been introduced, which has boosted ridership to around two million passengers per year. However, the railway still relies on an ageing fleet of DMUs, some of which are more than 30 years old.
With increasing maintenance and fuel costs the railway has drawn up a plan, dubbed Zillertalbahn 2020+, to electrify the line, which would reduce the Jenbach - Mayrhofen journey time from 55 minutes to 45 minutes.
The whole package of further infrastructure upgrades, electrification, and new rolling stock would cost €156m. This compares to a total investment of €50m over the last 20 years, which was financed solely by the railway.
The electrification scheme needs the support of the Tyrol provincial government, which has formally decided to back Zillertalbahn 2020+. However, financing is still an issue and negotiations concerning a contribution from the Austrian Ministry of Transport will need to be started in due course.