AUSTRIA’s Westbahn will extend its open-access services to Bregenz on the German border on December 10, having extended its reach from Vienna to Innsbruck last year. This means that the company will now be covering the entire Western Railway - also named Westbahn - and be able to compete fully with Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) on the route.

The new service will call at 11 stations throughout the state of Vorarlberg: apart from Bregenz, the service will also stop at Dornbirn, Hohenems, Altach, Götzis, Rankweil, Feldkirch, Frastanz, Nenzing, Bludenz, and Langen am Arlberg. The company says that this means that half of the state’s population, or more than 200 000 people, will have access to its services.

Served by Westbahn’s existing fleet of Stadler Kiss 3 six-car double-deck EMUs with 506 seats in three classes, the new route will initially offer one daily return connection from December 10, starting at Bregenz at 05.10 and arriving at Vienna West at 12.52, before returning at 15.08 and terminating at Bregenz at 22.47. Next year, the frequency will double. Tickets from Vienna to Vorarlberg will start at €23.99, Westbahn says.

On November 24, there will be a grand opening of the service, featuring Vorarlberg’s governor Mr Markus Wallner, Westbahn’s joint managers Mr Thomas Posch and Mr Florian Kazalek, and other dignitaries. The following day, there will be free travel on part of Westbahn’s new service, between Bregenz and Feldkirch on the Liechtenstein border.

Westbahn opened for business in December 2011 with a Vienna - Salzburg service, and has subsequently extended the route to Munich.