Vienna local tram company seeks to revive Bratislava tram service

old tram line
old tram line

Wiener Lokalbahnen seeks to revive Bratislava tram service

A subsidiary of Wiener Linien, Vienna's public transport provider, is proposing to revive the legendary tram service to Bratislava by 2013.

Detailed plans but no finalised concept yet
Wiener Lokalbahnen, which already runs a service from Vienna to Baden known as the "Badner Bahn", is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wiener Linien. Chairman of the board Harald Brock confirms that basic consideration has been given to the idea of resurrecting the tram service to Bratislava and that there is sufficient interest in the service. The old tram line is currently used by the S7 suburban railway from Vienna to Wolfsthal and ends there. The 7km section from Wolfsthal to Petržalka was removed after the war and would have to be relaid.

Costs put at 70 million euros
The costs are put at 70 million euros and financing has not yet been finalised. Brock hopes for contributions by the provinces of Vienna and Lower Austria and by Slovakian companies. He points out that a tram project would have the advantage that the bridge in Petržalka would not have to be modified, as it is already suitable for trams if not for the heavier Austrian Railway (ÖBB) trains.

Tram and train rails no problem
At present the line section to Wolfsthal can only be frequented by heay railway trains. Thus the revitalised trams would travel from Vienna to Bratislava on different types of track. According to Wiener Lokalbahnen it does not present any technical problems. The idea is to use light-rail trams similar to those on the route from Vienna to Baden in Lower Austria, which also travel partly on tram lines and partly on the railways.

Project will supplement ÖBB local service
The project will supplement rather than compete with the ÖBB local service because it would stop at smaller villages between the two capitals. ÖBB itself is currently developing high-speed sections to Slovakia. The Bratislava trams would travel at least every 15 minutes, says Brock, and the journey would take a little over an hour. There are several possible departure points in Vienna including the Badner Bahn terminus on Karlsplatz or possibly Simmering.

Badner Bahn
Badner Bahn

Positive response to date - Schicker: all routes to Bratislava are required
Reactions to date have been positive but reserved. Michael Zentner, spokesman for Wiener Linien, said that the decision was still under consideration but that financial support would be required at all events. Rudi Schicker, Vienna executive councillor for urban development, traffic and transport, is optimistic. He says that the plan has been on the table for some time and that there is a large demand for routes to Bratislava from the Vienna area. ÖBB describes the plan as "stimulating": the ÖBB plans for developing high-speed sections and a Bratislava tram route serving smaller villages would be complementary.

Growing demand
Wiener Lokalbahnen mentions the growing demand on the Vienna-Bratislava route as demonstrated by the Twin City Liner, which has been operating to high capacity for two years on the Danube. A second high-speed vessel is currently being built in the shipyard in Christansand, Norway, and will join its sister vessel in 2008. This growing demand also points to a possible business niche for a new tram service. It would complement rather than compete with the Twin City Liner and ÖBB.

old building
picture postcard

Bus: 1.50 euros from Hainburg to Bratislava
In the meantime there are plans to improve the bus link between Wolfsthal and Bratislava. The Austrian Post Office currently has a concession for services to Slovakia, and Euroline buses provide an hourly link between Vienna and Bratislava. "The problem is that they only stop in Wolfsthal if there are free seats," says Wolfsthal mayor Gerhard Schödinger. Passengers who don't book a seat in advance are frequently left behind. And even with a seat reservation the Euroline buses often fail to stop in Wolfsthal. The Bratislava public transport service is seeking to remedy the problem: it is applying for a licence and proposes to operate a service between Bratislava city centre and Hainburg for 1.50 euros. A solution could well be in the offing, and Postbus AG has also expressed an interest in a cooperation with Slovakian partners.

And finally...

 Hannibal vs the Queen by Karel Polt.
An advert of films. The designer has found a clever way to advertise two films on the same poster. Brilliant and funny!
Short break in the Central Europe.
Bratislava, Slovakia

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