“Pyhrn/Schober-bottleneck needs to be eliminated”

The governments of Styria, Carinthia, Salzburg and Upper Austria, call for including the Tauern-Phyrn/Schober corridor in the Trans-European Core Network

“Pyhrn/Schober-bottleneck needs to be eliminated”

The railway corridor along the Pyhrn and Schober route is the most important connection from the province of Styria to the Upper Austrian central region and to Germany’s major economic centers as well as to the ports of northwestern Europe. For years, Styria and Styria’s social partners have had the common goal of integrating this international rail link into the Trans-European Core Network TEN-T. 

The current TEN-T core network does not include any direct core network connection crossing the Eastern Alps between the south-east of Europe and the central regions of the European Union. This essential network connection could lead through the southern (Styria and Carinthia) and northern (Upper Austria and Salzburg) provinces of Austria. Since the Tauern corridor between Munich and Ljubljana is too steep for heavy freight transport (only passenger and light freight transport), the much flatter Pyhrn/Schober route would be an alternative; however, a division of functions between the two corridors is recommended. 

At a press conference in Graz on the 25th of October, in the run-up to the informal EU Transport Council in Graz at the end of October, governor Hermann Schützenhöfer, vice governor Michael Schickhofer and the comissioner for transport Anton Lang together with Styria’s social partners, represented by Gernot Acko (vice president of the Styrian Chamber of labor), Benedikt Bittmann (vice president of the Styrian chamber of commerce), Franz Kainersdorfer (vice president of the Styrian federation of industrialists) and Helga Ahrer (vice chairwoman of the Styrian ÖGB association) emphasised the importance of this project once again. 

Hermann Schützenhöfer sees the Tauern-Phyrn/Schober corridor as a strong European response to global challenges. As part of the Hamburg-Koper connection, this would open up new opportunities for exports from Styria and jobs for the population. 

“The century project, the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor with Koralmbahn and Semmering Base Tunnel, which we jointly fighted for in the interest of Styria as a location for jobs and industry, is now on track. Now we need to ensure with the same dedication that our next big goal, namely the inclusion of the Tauern-Phyrn/Schober corridor in the future Trans-European Core Network, will be reached,” stressed transport councilor Anton Lang. 

For decades, the Pyhrn route and the north-south link in Austria have been the bottlenecks for railway infrastructure and freight logistics. This applies in particular to the Bosruck railway tunnel, which would urgently need to be redrawn and rebuilt. As part of the forthcoming revision of the TEN-T, there is now an opportunity to break this barrier together with the Tauern route and, with its integration into the core network of trans-European rail links, to add it to the national investment priorities of the BMVIT and the ÖBB. 

In addition, the continuation of this corridor to the Balkans and thus a link to the southern route of the New Silk Road and the growth markets in Asia should be made urgently, in the interest of the industry. This project needs to prioritised in Austria, appealed Benedikt Bittmann. 

“In the global economic system, goods flows between countries and continents are increasing. Locations that want to be sustainably successful, must be integrated into these transport corridors to enable competitive handling of freight flows. The integration of the Pyhrn-Schober route into the Trans-European core network is therefore essential for Styria, explained Franz Kainersdorfer. 

In 2011, the European Commission presented the proposal for the Trans-European Core Network for Transport (TEN-T) and, with the establishment of the Baltic-Adriatic corridor, granted highest European significance for Styrian railways for the first time. Many Styrian, Austrian and European stakeholders have contributed to this. 

The projects of the century, Koralmbahn and Semmering Base Tunnels are at the heart of this corridor and are being implemented. However, with Croatia’s accession to the European Union in 2013, it was clear that the core network that had been presented, was incomplete towards south-eastern Europe. In this sense, an alliance of the four provinces of Carinthia, Salzburg, Upper Austria and Styria has emerged from the provincial alliance between Carinthia and Styria, which has been successful for the Baltic-Adriatic Corridor. 

In this context, arguments were gathered with the help of international experts to anchor the Tauern-Pyhrn/Schober corridor in the TEN-T core network as well. Unfortunately, this was not achieved by the time of Croatia’s accession. Now with the upcoming revision of the TEN-T guidelines and thus of the TEN-T core network there is again the chance to integrate the railway line across the Pyhrn, which is so important for Styria, into the highest-ranking European transport network. 

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