Revolution to evolution – Upgrading the Vienna-Bratislava railway


Next year will mark the 170th anniversary of the opening of the first cross-border railway between Austria and Slovakia. The histories of the two countries are closely intertwined and the arrival of the railway in 1848 coincided with political revolution.

Those cross-border links are now being strengthened, with work beginning in earnest to upgrade the Austrian side of the railway which connects the capital of Vienna with Bratislava.

The first section of the Marchegger Ostbahn between Marchegg and Bratislava, then called Pressburg, opened in 1848. It formed part of the future railway connecting Vienna with Budapest.

An additional line is being built to support the existing single-track diesel railway from Wien Erzherzog Karl-Straße to Marchegg on the Slovak border. This new 37.5km double-track railway will be electrified, allowing the line speed to be raised from 120km/h to 160km/h.

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Stations serving the line – Hirschstetten, Raasdorf, Glinzendorf, Siebenbrunn-Leopoldsdorf, Untersiebenbrunn, Schönfeld-Lassee, Breitensee and Marchegg – will also be upgraded and a new station, Wien Aspern, will be built in Mayredergasse to provide a connection to the U2 line of Vienna’s U-Bahn.

Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) says the new railway will be safer. Level crossings along the route will be replaced with underpasses and bridges.

The €505 million upgrade is due to be completed in 2023 and there have been commitments to deliver further travel time and capacity benefits by improving the Slovakian side as well.

Photos courtesy of ÖBB

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Correction/clarification: Austria was not part of the Kingdom of Hungary but, from 1867, was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.



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