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Austria’s first railway line without light signals successful in operation for four months

Photography COPYRIGHT: NLK Reinberger
Gouvernor of Lower Austria Mag.a Johanna Mikl-Leitner (middle)
Managing Director of Thales in Austria Ing.Mag. Hannes Boyer (right)
Head of Sales and Business Development of Thales in Austria DI Bernhard Appel (left)

The expansion of the four-track line between Vienna and Linz enables a maximum speed of up to 230 km/h and a reduced travel time by 19 minutes.
With the opening of the freight train bypass St. Pölten on 10 December 2017 the city centre St. Pölten is relieved and the capacity on the line Vienna – Linz could be increased from 250 to 800 freight trains per day. The 24.7 km long new line branches off the line Vienna – St. Pölten main station in the junction Wagram and rejoins the existing line at the junction Rohr.

For equipping the freight train bypass with modern signalling technology, ÖBB relies on Thales. With this freight train bypass the first section on the ÖBB network is in operation without light signals. Saving the signals has increased efficiency of the line while reducing maintenance costs. The signalling is independent of external influences, which allows operation free from interference even in bad weather conditions, as an example.

In a world with increasingly fast moving transport possibilities, these are key factors for freight transport to prevail against road traffic. A line without light signals is an optimal solution for this big ambition.

Combining a unique diversity of talents, our architects equipped the line with the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 2, in order to enable rail operation without light. Information is continuously transmitted from and to the train via radio communication. The electronic interlocking and the operation management centre know at any time the exact location of freight trains on the bypass and are able to send corresponding secured movement authorities. The Thales ETCS Level 2 system thus ensures highest level of safety and efficiency to freight trains passing this section now and in the future. Whatever it takes.