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EXPLAINED: How Austria will expand train services in new timetable

Aaron Burnett
Aaron Burnett - [email protected]
EXPLAINED: How Austria will expand train services in new timetable
An ÖBB train travels through Austria. The state rail company is announcing big service expansions to be phased in from December. (© ÖBB/Christian Auerweck)

Austrian state rail company ÖBB is betting big on high demand from environmentally conscious travellers for its big timetable update to start December 10th with more routes and more trains to be provided.


Beginning that day, ÖBB will phase in its new timetables across the board – whether for local, regional, international, and nighttime services.

330 new trains with a combined capacity of another 100,000 seats are set to come online towards year-end and into 2024, helping to cover an additional 4.5 million kilometres in local and regional transport.

New sleeper routes to connect Austria with its neighbours

New international routes will cover Germany, France, Slovenia, and Poland – many of which will be serviced by modernised night trains with more privacy and onboard showers. Starting in mid-December, a new night train between Vienna and Hamburg via Innsbruck will kick off ÖBB’s nighttime expansion, with new sleeper services to France, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands also being phased in over the next few years.

In October 2024, this expansion will see the current night route between Vienna and both Paris and Brussels made into a daily offering, up from the three times weekly that it currently travels.

Beds inside the compartment of a sleeping car of a train of the new generation of the Nightjet sleeper trains. Photo: Alex HALADA/AFP.

Also in 2024, ÖBB will connect Munich and Warsaw, via a night train that will also pass through Salzburg, Linz, Vienna, and Krakow. The current night train linking Graz and Vienna to Berlin will also start travelling via Breclav, Prague, and Dresden.

Having bought up new sleeper train stock over the last few years – at a time when other national railways were axing their night offerings, ÖBB plans to double its night train capacity from 1.5 million now to three million by 2030. In the next six years, the company will spend €6.1 billion on modernised trains, including sleepers.

READ ALSO: Austria rail operator ÖBB unveils new night trains


Increasing available day trains and local transport

Alongside its nighttime push, ÖBB is upping many of its daytime services in its new timetable as well.

Vienna to Berlin will soon run five times daily in both directions, while the now twice-weekly route connecting Innsbruck to Berlin through Munich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt will run daily. Villach and Ljubljana in Slovenia will also be serviced with six direct coaches.

Within Austria, Vienna to Salzburg will also get a new evening service, while Villach will get more direct connections to Vienna.

On the local transport front, ÖBB has ordered 47 new double-decker trains to boost capacity. 16 battery-powered trains are also coming online to replace diesel traffic on the Kamptalbahn. Regionally, timetable updates are also focused on improving connections between Austria’s nine state capitals.


With an increase of 20 percent more long-distance passengers than it saw in 2019, a new record, ÖBB says the demand for environmentally-friendly train travel is clearly there. On the night train front, sleeper cars are already often booked out weeks in advance. A full 46 million passengers are projected to have used ÖBB services by the end of this year.

ÖBB says it doesn’t plan to increase prices for the time being, having upped them by about six percent already in June this year.

READ ALSO: What to know about the planned new cross-border train services between Austria and Germany



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