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Final Touches: The Completion of the Koralm Railway Project

Final Touches: The Completion of the Koralm Railway Project
photo: Chris Zenz / ÖBB/Final Touches: The Completion of the Koralm Railway Project
23 / 05 / 2023

The Koralm railway is in the finishing sprint. Work on the entire line between Graz and Klagenfurt is proceeding at full speed. And at the heart of the project, the 33 km long Koralm Tunnel, work is also proceeding at a rapid pace. Today, the last of around 13,000 track support plates are being installed. Each one is over five metres long and weighs more than five tonnes. 120-metre-long rail sections will be fastened and welded, allowing trains to travel through the Koralpe at speeds of up to 230 km/h from the end of 2025.

For trains to be able to travel from Graz to Klagenfurt in 45 minutes, more than "just" a tunnel and rails are needed. First of all, the last remaining rail sections have to be mounted on the track support plates. At the same time, a whole range of technical equipment and countless kilometres of cable are being installed – for vibration protection, noise protection, tunnel safety, communication facilities, signalling and electronic interlocking. Finally, there is the overhead line with an innovative overhead conductor rail. It ensures that trains can travel at high speeds in an environmentally friendly manner using traction current.

To ensure that this wealth of technology can be effectively maintained in the future, the Koralm Tunnel and other structures along the Koralm Railway each have a digital twin. It means the structure was planned and implemented using Building Information Modelling (BIM). The term stands for digital and networked planning, construction and management. Via the digital Koralm Tunnel, all information about materials, quantities or lines can be accessed at any time and from anywhere. It makes the Koralm Tunnel a pioneering project in digitalisation as well.

Up to 400 people will be at work during this final construction phase. Up to ten transport trains bring the crews and material into the tunnel daily around the clock, seven days a week. ÖBB project manager Klaus Schneider: "The environmentally friendly delivery of the track slabs was a particular concern for us. The concrete components were loaded at the production site in Lower Austria and brought directly into the tunnel by train via the Styrian portals. In this way, many transportations by road could be saved."

Source: ÖBB