TRIESTE – The Karawanken railway tunnel was officially opened in Rosenbach (Carinthia-Austria) a few days ago after its renovation.The eight-kilometre-long Karawanken Tunnel is the heart of the freight transport corridor from Carinthia to the Adriatic ports of Koper and Rijeka and the economic areas of Austria and southern Germany. Since autumn 2020, ÖBB has been renovating and modernising the tunnel, which is more than 100 years old: it was put into operation for the first time in 1906.
To bring the route to a current level of safety, the tunnel has been extensively renovated and updated. About 140 million euros were invested in the project, co-financed by Austria, Slovenia and the EU. ÖBB contributed around 73 million euros.
In order for the tunnel to meet the new standards, the double-track line was reduced to one. This allowed the installation of important safety systems on the existing tunnel profile. These include continuous escape routes, modern fire protection measures and fail-safe communication systems. Despite the reduction from two to one track, the new safety systems will allow an increase in the number of trains passing through.
The official ceremony was attended by Leonore Gewessler, Austrian Federal Minister for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, Carinthia Governor Peter Kaiser, Jernej Vrtovec, Minister of Infrastructure of Slovenia, EU Ambassador Martin Selmayr and ÖBB CEO Andreas Matthä.