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Vienna's U2 metro line hit by one year delay

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Vienna's U2 metro line hit by one year delay
A U2 metro station in Vienna (Photo by Samuel-Elias Nadler on Unsplash)

A significant stretch of the busy U2 metro line has been closed for construction work since May 2021 but was expected to resume operation by autumn 2023. But the city's transport company has now confirmed a year's delay.

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The City of Vienna's Wiener Linien has confirmed a one-year delay in reopening important metro stations in the city centre of the Austrian capital.

The section of the U2 line between Rathaus and Karlplatz, which was supposed to reopen in the fall of 2023, will now be ready only by September 2024, according to Wiener Linien.

The major project

Vienna is currently undertaking a significant metro expansion project, known as the U2xU5 project, which involves extending the U2 line to the south and constructing a new U5 line. Both lines will meet at the Rathaus, the City Hall station.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why Vienna’s U2 metro line might take longer to reopen

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This large-scale project requires work in sensitive areas, including the city centre. As the U2 line extends southward through Neubaugasse, Pilgramgasse, and Wienerberg, the new U5 tube will absorb stations Vokstheater, Museumsquartier, and Karlsplatz before continuing towards the northwest part of the city to Hernals.

As of June 2021, these three stations have been closed to the public, and no metro cars have been running through them as they are being transformed into U5 stations and connected to the U2 line at Rathaus. You can refer to the project image below for further details:

Vienna U2xU5 project

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Vienna plans to make its public transport functional again

'Unforeseeably complex challenges'

Wiener Linien justifies the delay with "unforeseeably complex construction challenges in the U2 at Schottentor," it said in a statement released on Thursday.

Wiener Linien plans to have the U2 running continuously from Seestadt to Karlsplatz again from the start of the school year in 2024. According to the municipal transport operators, the construction site has "no effect" on the overall project of the U2 extension and the new construction of the U5.

More than 90 percent of the work on the 2.7-kilometre-long Schottentor-Karlsplatz section is on schedule. However, the 120-meter-long area under Universitätsstrasse near Schottentor had become "a construction bottleneck," which caused delays, according to the company.

BACKGROUND: Huge expansion for Vienna’s underground train network

According to Wiener Linien, it is not yet clear whether additional costs will be incurred due to the one-year delay in the recommissioning of the U2. Up to 300 employees work around the clock on the U2/U5 line interchange construction sites.

At the stations Rathaus, Volkstheater, Museumsquartier and Karlsplatz, the platforms have already been rebuilt, and a total of 144 platform screen doors have been installed.

At the Matzleinsdorfer Platz station, which will be the final stop of the extended U2 from 2028, and at the U2/U5 double stop Rathaus, 850 meters of the tunnel have been dug, according to Wiener Linien. At the new U5 station Frankhplatz, work on the new tunnels will start at the beginning of May.

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