CZ/SK verze

The project Via Vindobona promises a Berlin-Vienna journey in 4 hours

The project Via Vindobona promises a Berlin-Vienna journey in 4 hours
photo:ÖBB Railjet
04 / 06 / 2021

Plans for a dramatic acceleration of intercity passenger traffic between the capitals of Germany, the Czech Republic, and Austria were outlined at the third German rail summit on 17 May.

Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer highlighted the plans agreed by the three countries in a trilateral contract called „Via Vindobona“ on a combination of upgraded routes and sections of the new high-speed line, which would allow an increase in cruising speed on the Berlin-Vienna route for a time of around 5 hours with limited stops in the „Express“ mode as well as services reaching 4 h, compared to the current fastest connection of around 8 h 15 minutes. Driving time Berlin - Prague would be reduced to 2 h 30 min and Dresden - Prague to about 1 h.

At the heart of the program is the 30 km basic tunnel under the Erzge from the German-Czech border, for which a joint declaration was signed in March 2020. It is expected to be completed by the mid-1930s as part of the 123 km high-performance railway between Dresden and Prague, reducing the distance by about 56 km.

Czech Transport Minister Karel Havlíček stated in his statement to the summit delegates that he is interested in introducing two-hour train connections to neighboring capitals, which should be reduced to one-hour train connection in the long term.

Austrian Climate Minister Leonore Gewessler promised in her statement that next year the 66 km Nordbahn line between Vienna and the Czech border in Bernhardsthal will be upgraded for EUR 1 billion.

The Vindobona brand reflects the name chosen in 1957 for the flagship express service Berlin - Vienna F-Zug, which was originally operated with the VT175 diesel engine car with five cars from Deutsche Reichsbahn in connection with the national railways of Czechoslovakia and Austria; it offered travel time south from 11h 38 min. This service survived in various forms using different types of rolling stock until 2014, and in 2020 the name for the ÖBB Railjet service connecting Berlin and Graz through Dresden, Prague, and Vienna was renewed.

The Via Vindobona agreement fits into the concept of a commitment to support the intention of European transport ministers in support of the wider TEE 2.0 programme, which envisages the development of a network of high-speed day and night passenger transport services linking major European cities.