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Österreichische Bundesbahnen


Österreichische Bundesbahnen

Österreichische Bundesbahnen
Government-owned corporation
Industry Transport
Founded 1923
Headquarters Vienna, Austria
Area served Austria & Liechtenstein
Products passenger transport and freight transport
Revenue 5.75 billion (2009) [1]
Operating income 313 million (2009) [1]
Employees 45,186 (2009) [1]
Österreichische Bundesbahnen
Locale Austria
Track gauge (standard gauge)
Electrification 15 kV, 16.7 Hz Overhead line
Length 5,635 km (3,501.4 mi) (2009)[1]
Headquarters Vienna
Mariazell Railway
Locale Austria
Track gauge
Electrification 6.5 kV, 25 Hz Overhead line
Length 84 km

The Austrian Federal Railways (German: Österreichische Bundesbahnen, ÖBB) is the national railway system of Austria, and the administrator of Liechtenstein's railways. The ÖBB group is owned entirely by the Republic of Austria and is divided into several separate businesses that manage the infrastructure and operate passenger and freight services.

The ÖBB are the successor to the Bundesbahn Österreich (BBÖ, Federal Railway of Austria) and which itself was the successor of the kkStB (Imperial Royal Austrian State Railways). The railway system was incorporated into the Deutsche Reichsbahn during the 1938-1945 Anschluss.

Major changes currently being made to the Austrian railway network are the construction of the Wien Hauptbahnhof (Vienna main station), the Koralm Railway, the Semmering Base Tunnel and the Brenner Base Tunnel connection with Italy.


  • 1882 – Gradual nationalisation of the railway network of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy into the Imperial Royal Austrian State Railways (Kaiserlich-königliche österreichische Staatsbahnen).
  • 1923 – Foundation of the independent, commercial enterprise, the Austrian Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahnen) which used the abbreviation BBÖ, because ÖBB was already taken by the Swiss Oensingen-Balsthal-Bahn.
  • 1938 – The Anschluss of Austria into the German Empire. The BBÖ was taken over by the Deutsche Reichsbahn. During the Second World War about 41% of the Austrian railway network was destroyed.
  • 1947 – The ÖBB (by that time the Swiss private railway used the abbreviation SP for its goods wagons in international traffic, so its abbreviation ÖBB could now be appropriated) were reformed as a state-owned company. Their infrastructure was rebuilt and electrification was accelerated.
  • 1969 – A new federal railway law was enacted. The ÖBB became a non-independent, economic entity, that was run as a branch of the government's industrial programme and remained entirely within the Federal budget.
  • 1992 – The ÖBB were broken out of the federal budget and turned into company with its own legal status (a cross between a GmbH and an AG in Austrian commercial terms). The company is 100% owned by the Republic of Austria. This change had two primary aims: 1. It had to conform to EU rules on the admission of Austria into the European Union. 2. The financial demand on the public purse was to be reduced as a result of improvements in efficiency and the pressure of competition.
  • 2004 – The ÖBB were reorganised into ÖBB Holding AG and a number of operating subsidiaries. The holding company was to oversee the operations of the companies assigned to it, coordinate a coherent strategic approach and allocate tasks for the whole enterprise.[2]
  • 1 January 2005 – The subsidiaries of ÖBB-Holding AG became autonomous and independent operationally. See below.

The Austrian rail system is largely electrified. Electrification of the system began in 1912 but did not reach an advanced state until the 1950s. The last steam locomotive in regular service on the standard gauge network was retired in 1978.

The post-war laws related to the Austrian railways were the:

  • Eisenbahngesetz (EisbG 1957),
  • Schieneninfrastrukturfinanzierungsgesetz (SCHIG 1999),
  • Eisenbahnhochleistungsstreckengesetz (HIG 1999) and
  • Bundesbahngesetz (1992).

Current structure

By a law of August 2009, the organisational structure dating from 2005 was further modified; the railways are under the control of ÖBB-Holding AG, a holding company wholly owned by the Austrian state, under the Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie.[3]

The holding company has (2010) a number of subsidiaries

  • ÖBB-Dienstleistungs GmbH
  • ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG (Infrastructure planning, management, and construction)
    • ÖBB-Immobilienmanagement GmbH
  • ÖBB-Infrastruktur Betrieb AG (Maintenance of railway lines, stations, and infrastructure)
  • ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG (Passenger transport)
  • Rail Cargo Austria AG (Freight transport)

Subsidiary companies of ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG and Rail Cargo Austria AG are:

  • ÖBB-Produktion GmbH (provision of locomotives)
  • ÖBB-Technische Services GmbH (technical services)

The business units are based on the separation of sales and infrastructure.


The infrastructure of the state-owned Austrian network is managed by ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG, which was formed from former infrastructure-related units including Brenner Eisenbahn GmbH. It now manages 10,780 km of track, 680 signalboxes, 273 tunnels, and eight hydro-electric power (hep) stations for the 16.7 Hz elecytrification system, and two hep stations for 50 Hz power generation.

At the end of 2009 it employed 17,612 staff.[3]

Österreichische Bundesbahnen
Sales Infrastructure
Passenger transport Network
Freight transport Tracks
Traction Signal-/System technology
Technical services Telekom
Power plants Energy network
Facility management Planning/Engineering
Facility management


According to the Annual Report 2007, the company employs 42,893, thereof 9,273 employees, 32,299 tenured employees and 1,321 apprentices. In 2007, ÖBB-Personenverkehr AG carried 447 million passengers of which 238 million were bus passengers.[4]

The ÖBB has

  • 5,700 km (3,500 route miles); 57% electrified
  • 1,230 locomotives.
  • 3,136 passenger vehicles
  • 220 Electrical Multiple Unit
  • 145 Diesel Multiple Unit
  • ÖBB's bus services travel 52,500,000 km (32,621,988 mi) per year.

Principal Lines

Rail links to adjacent countries

All neighbouring railways have the same gauge.

  • Czech Republic  — voltage change to 25 kV 50 Hz AC
  • Germany  — same voltage 15 kV AC
  • Hungary  — voltage change to 25 kV 50 Hz AC
  • Italy — voltage change to 3 kV DC
  • Liechtenstein  — same voltage 15 kV AC
  • Slovakia  — voltage change to 25 kV 50 Hz AC
  • Slovenia — voltage change to 3 kV DC
  • Switzerland  — same voltage 15 kV AC

See also

Other railways in Austria



  • Austrian Federal Railways website

External links

  • Austrian Federal Railways website
  • Rail Cargo Austria website
  • International relations UIC
  • International relations CER
  • report of audit court 2006
  • modification of railroad law 2004
  • passenger traffic tariffs of ÖBB in 2008

Template:National railway companies of Europe

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