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Expansion of public transport in Salzburg city and region approved

Salzburger Lokalbahn-Triebwagen | © D. Budach

On 21 December 2020, the Austrian Ministry for Climate Protection, the Federal State (“Bundesland”) of Salzburg and the City of Salzburg agreed upon a comprehensive package for the expansion of the local public transport network. Framework agreements were signed for the construction of the regional city railway, the extension of the northern branch of the Lokalbahn (the suburban train service), joint investments by the federal government and the Land into the Pinzgauer Lokalbahn and the implementation of the “1-2-3 climate ticket”. 50 percent of the investment in the Salzburg local railway will be funded by the federal government.

The central milestone of this historic package for public transport in Salzburg is the framework agreement for the regional light rail (“Regionalstadtbahn”). Construction of the first section to Mirabell Schloss is scheduled to begin as early as 2023. The climate protection ministry has also promised to finance half of the costs for the further expansion stages and planning steps.

Governor (Landeshauptmann) Wilfried Haslauer signed the agreement with the federal government, represented by Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler, Deputy Governor Heinrich Schellhorn, Transport Provincial Councillor Stefan Schnöll and Salzburg Deputy Mayor Barbara Unterkofler. “The climate-friendly mobility turnaround plays a central role in generating significant added value for future generations. The realisation of the regional light rail represents one of the largest future projects in the transport sector for us,” says Governor Wilfried Haslauer.

Different scenarios for Salzburg’s Regionalstadtbahn | © Landes-Medienzentrum

The regional light rail system entails a tunnel section underneath Salzburg’s city centre and various route extensions on surface of the existing railway network to improve connections and the integration of the surrounding areas to the provincial capital.

Key elements of the agreements

Joint investments of around EUR 900 million for the planning and expansion of the Salzburg local railway were sealed. This essentially includes:

  • Planning activities for the first stage of the underground extension of the local railway from the existing underground terminus Salzburg Lokalbahnhof (at the main railway station) in operation since 1996, to Mirabellplatz, as the first stage of the future regional light rail: start of preparation of the submission planning in 2021.
  • Start of construction of the regional light rail in 2023
  • Start of construction of the 1st section Lokalbahnhof Salzburg – Mirabellplatz until 2025
  • Planning activities for the so-called “Messebahn” (trade fair center train) connection as sub-project
  • Planning activities and multilateral coordination for part 2 of the overall project (Mirabellplatz – Salzburg Süd/South)
  • Further planning activities for the overall project (Part 2 “Mirabellplatz – Salzburg South”, Part 3 “Salzburg South – Hallein”). The preliminary work for Parts 2 and 3 will be started in parallel to the submission planning for Part 1, with the aim of ensuring a speedy completion of the overall project.
  • Extension of the northern branch of the Salzburger Lokalbahn – start of construction in 2021.

The extension of the existing northern branch includes, among other things, measures to safeguard the existing infrastructure including a new safety control system, the construction of a new depot in the Bergheim/Anthering area, the complete rebuilding of the Itzling, Bergheim and Bürmoos stations as well as new double-track alignments of the Itzling – Muntigl – Siggerwiesen section and the Bürmoos exit.

Complete rebuconstruction of tzling station is part of the deal | © D. Budach

In addition, to promote public transport in the city and the region surrounding Salzburg, an investment of EUR 8 million is planned for the 750mm-gauge, diesel-powered Pinzgauer Lokalbahn by 2025, as well as the introduction of the so-called “1-2-3 climate ticket” before the end of 2021, which provides for the use of all public transport in Austria at a price of EUR 1095 per year.

It had already been decided to procure 20 (+ 5 more optional) new light rail vehicles according to the joint VDV-Tram-Train concept, for which the tender is currently underway. Read our dedicated article about the topic here: https://www.urban-transport-magazine.com/en/new-tram-trains-six-operators-start-joint-vehicle-tender/

(Information provided by Landes-Medienzentrum Salzburg)

Design dof the future VDV-Tram-Train on order for Salzburg | © VDV
Current Lokalbahn terminus at Salzburg Hauptbahnhof | © Dirk Budach

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