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Modernization of the 8-kilometer railway tunnel between Slovenia and Austria Karavanke railway tunnel has been reopened

Modernization of the 8-kilometer railway tunnel between Slovenia and Austria Karavanke railway tunnel has been reopened
photo: Archives/Modernization of the 8-kilometer railway tunnel between Slovenia and Austria Karavanke railway tunnel has been reopened
07 / 08 / 2021

The Karavanke railway tunnel has been reopened at 29-07-2021 following a safety and technical upgrade. Instead of the maximum of 50 km/h, trains will now be able to travel through it at speeds of up to 120 km/h.

As part of the work, which lasted about 10 months, the double-track railway, built-in 1906, was replaced with a track, damaged parts of the tunnel pipe were repaired, the entrance portal was reconstructed, and drainage and fire safety were improved.

The project is funded by both Slovenia and Austria, with an estimated value of € 79 million, of which more than € 49 million has been provided by the European Cohesion Fund.

The Karawanks Tunnel is the fourth-longest railway tunnel in Austria and the longest in Slovenia with a length of 7,976 metres. It passes under Rožca Saddle between Rosenbach in southern Austria and Jesenice in northern Slovenia.

Upon opening in October 1906, the Karawanks Tunnel formed an important element of the Karawanken Railway, which was - together with the Bohinj Railway - constructed to connect the port of Trieste with Klagenfurt, the capital of the federal state of Carinthia in Austria. Despite the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which had been a driving force for its construction, the line and tunnel alike continued to be a well-trafficked route largely used by freight trains travelling between Austria and Slovenia. During the twenty-first century, the Karawanks Tunnel underwent extensive modernisation, being rationalised from a twin-track layout to a single track to comply with modern safety standards.

According to the national recovery and sustainability plan, Slovenia must invest 280m euros in grants in railway infrastructure, with 509m euros expected to be set aside from the national budget this year alone. Austria, for its part, intends to invest 17.5 billion euros in railway infrastructure over the next six years to obtain "modern railway tracks, stations and trains.

 

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