Koralmbahn Progress, Austria

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LNW-GW Joint

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I've been trying to follow progress on the construction of this new line in Austria, linking Graz and Klagenfurt (140km) via the Koralm Tunnel (33km).
It's supposed to open partially in 2023 and fully in 2026 as a 250km/h route, replacing the hilly and winding but also very pretty route via Leoben and St Veit.
Some of the new infrastructure looks nearly ready for use, but equally some looks a long way from completion.
It's impossible to know how tunnelling progress is going, but the open sections are visible on Google Maps.
It shows electrification masts up at both ends of the line, which is a good sign.
At the Klagenfurt end, the first 15km, which duals the existing single-track (diesel) Drava valley route as far as the first crossing of the river, looks complete.

It gets complicated further east, where the existing (1960s) Jauntalbrücke* single-track bridge over the Drava is being widened for HSL traffic.
ÖBB has some webcams on the route which shows how things are going, seemingly within the last year.
This one is just south of the Jauntalbrücke and shows a completed solum with lineside masts and the first wires in place (before tracklaying) - note the simple OHLE.
It's a special bridge which allows wildlife to cross the railway unimpeded.
Webcam Wildbrücke 01 - ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG (oebb.at)

Otherwise much of the route on the Koralm tunnel approaches looks distinctly unready, with basic construction work still in progress and no sign of railway equipment.
Further north, the new Semmering base tunnel is being built on roughly the same timescale, but is harder to track being underground.
This webcam shows the southern portal at Mürzzuschlag, where the new line diverges from the old.
The 27km 250km/h tunnel will replace the tortuous and slow (but highly scenic!) 41km mountain route from Gloggnitz.
Webcam Mürzzuschlag 01 - ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG (oebb.at)

* this bridge is apparently a favourite site in Carinthia for bungy jumping. Will it become the first HSL structure used for this activity? ;)
 
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Austriantrain

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AFAIK, the Koralmbahn is still on schedule to open in December 2025.

The Semmering-tunnel, however, has slipped and is supposed to open in December 2028. There have been quite severe difficulties in tunneling through some sections because of bad geological conditions, so while most parts of the tunnel bores advance well, progress has been very slow on some sections.
 
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306024

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From a tourist perspective it’s a shame these tunnels are taking over from the scenic routes, but such is economic progress. The construction though is impressive.

Went to an excellent exhibition about the Semmering tunnel last time I was in Austria. They explained a lot about the difficult geological conditions so any delay is not surprising.
 

Austriantrain

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From a tourist perspective it’s a shame these tunnels are taking over from the scenic routes, but such is economic progress. The construction though is impressive.

The traditional routes will remain open. I hope some kind of tourist trains can be offered like in Switzerland, but even if not, regional trains will continue to serve these lines.

However, from a public transport perspective, these new lines are urgently necessary (and especially the Semmering tunnel should have been built 20 years ago - it was supposed to, but politics got in the way). The train currently is not the slightest bit competitive compared to the car; the journey times are much too long.
 
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