Austria: privately owned rail operator WESTbahn launches another commercially driven long-distance service
MEP Barbara Thaler (left) and the Governor of Austrian Tyrol Anton Mattle, at the launch of WESTbahn’s new service to Innsbruck.

Vienna, 13th December 2022: This week on European timetable change day, the privately owned railway operator and ALLRAIL member WESTbahn launched another commercially driven long-distance service in Austria, this time between Vienna and Innsbruck.

Thanks to this new service, passengers wishing to visit the capital of the beautiful region of Austrian Tyrol will also enjoy the benefits of competition between different railway operators on the same route.

The inauguration of this service – in which MEP Barbara Thaler (member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport) participated – constitutes another extension of WESTbahn’s network. Earlier this year, the privately owned railway operator also launched a cross-border service connecting the Austrian cities of Vienna, Linz and Salzburg to the German city of Munich.

WESTbahn’s current network.

WESTbahn’s successive and successful extensions mean that more rail operators are competing on the same tracks, which leads to more seats and higher frequencies. In addition to the resulting convenience that benefits passengers, this most importantly drives fares down and significantly improves the quality of service.

These are the ingredients that are needed to convince more passengers to take the train – which is one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transport – rather than the less sustainable individual private motor car.

This is the way to accelerate modal shift to rail that we so desperately need to reduce the emissions of the transport sector in Europe.

WESTbahn’s new service demonstrates once again that long-distance passenger rail should be operated commercially where the market can bear it, without the need for expensive taxpayer-funded Public Service Contracts which also deprive passengers from the proven benefits of competition“.

Salim Benkirane – Policy Officer at ALLRAIL