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Alpine Railway


Communications link - High Speed Trains - Railjet          

 Railjet as a Group of ÖBB  
The Railjet is a spear headed part of otherwise very traditional Austrian Railways ÖBB. 23 units of Railjets of the initial order are taking shape and the traffic is developing to meet the need of the Austrian travel to the neighboring countries Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and soon also to Italy. While these will be part of the initial challenge, the 230 km/h (143 mph) railjets can conquer much more domain once more operations experience is gained. 

Unlike most high speed operators, the Railjet relies on the proven (although ultra modern designed) locomotive + coaches approach on its rolling stock. The idea is to run initiallly one locomotive with 6 coaches plus a cab car / diriving trailer at the other end.    

ÖBB has found itself in the situation, where it faces competition from North (Germany) and West (Switzerland and France) and has made its decision to survive in the new open access operating environment. To compete it has created an own innovative design, not quite capable of true super high speed, but also maintaining a certain amount of flexibility if things for the small operator should change. Siemens Tauruses can be used elsewhere as well as coaches with some modifications. There is also always market for the driving trailers. If need be, more cars can be added and if more power is needed, it is easy to add locomotive to the other end or even in the middle like some of the double length trains are run.  

 Railjet Destinations 
Railjet initial destinations are networked around Vienna Austria (like hubs for the airliners) where all Railjet units stop. The initial route is Budapest (Hungary) - Vienna (Austria) - Munich (Germany) with at least two trainpairs per day. This will soon be / were complemeted with other routes: 

  • Vienna - Munich  
  • Vienna - Salzburg         


 Building the Fleet
The idea to create the Railjet started several years ago as modernizing of the ÖBB operations throught proven but ambitious high quality concepts. Siemens supplied the Eurosprinter derivative Taurus (ÖBB class 1116) locomotives for the Railjets. The train unit consist of several permanently coupled coaches and a driving trailer matching the forms of the Taurus locomotive. The permanent coupling is important for proper train behavior on the higher speeds. 

The Railjet service concept has three classes
 Premium Class
: this is intended for business class travellers, and equipped with luxury leather seats, tables and reading lights. The seats are wide and have much of the fuctionality from the better airliners seats. Premium class has initially suffered from the less than expected booking rates and Railjet is considering on chancing some of the seats to provide the other two classes more room. Since it takes literally years to develop the business travelling segment, the initial low booking rate should not be a surprise to the Railjet.  

Picture: the roomy and comfortable accommodations of the Railjet premium class coach in the driving trailer.
First Class
: Traditional first class on train with 2 + 1 black or gray leather seating.


Economy Class: Traditional second class, no surprises here with very dense 2 + 2 gray seating.   


 Railjet Rolling Stock   
Each Railjet unit consists of a Taurus (ÖBB class 1116)locomotive, driving trailer at the opposite end, one first class coach, a bistro car and three economy class coaches. 

Railjet driving trailer
Picture: The Railjet driving trailer (class Afmpz) shares the design of the Taurus locomotive at the other end of the train. Unusually stylish for the driving trailer! Picture provided by Siemens AG.       

Railjet consists  
Siemens Taurus type ES64U4 locomotive, class 1116 for the ÖBB. The locomotives are specially retroequipped for service with spoilers etc. for better streamlining and an extra pantograph for the use in Switzerland. 
Economy Class coaches
of  class Bmpz, which form the 3 cars behing the locomotive. These are followed by the class ARbmpz a multi function bistro car, which has a small first class bistro compartment, second class bistro compartment, office for the train personnel and the handicapped toilet and a wheelchair lift on the doors (since there are steps from the door to access the floor). 

Following the bistro car is the First Class Coach of class Ampz with 55 seats in 2 + 1 order and 2 luggage racks in the middle of the car (although the doors are at the each end of the car...). This car also has 2 toilets. Finally, usually forming the other end of the train is the class Afmpz Driving Trailer with 11 First class and 16 premium class seats initially. 1 door on each side and only one toilet is provided for the customers.

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Created for by John McKey. Pictures by Siemens AG, Ilkka Siissalo, Sanna Siissalo and John McKey.

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 Railjet Locomotives     


Railjet uses 6400 kW Taurus locomotives from the Siemens AG. The locomotives are of Austrian classes 1116 and 1216, most obviously distinguished by the doors behind the drivers compartment on 1216 and near the middle of the locomotive on the 1116. The locomotives look otherwise very similar, if you look far and only if you look far enough. The technology however is much the same, although the 1216 is a true multipurpose locomotive with a 20% higher price tag from the previous series.   
Technical details for Austrian classes 1116 and 1216  
-> Built by: Siemens AG, mostly in Austria  
-> Type: ES64U2 and ES64U4 
     (Euro Sprinter 6400kW U2 and U4 for dual voltage or triple/quad voltage models, 15 kV 16,7 Hz, 25 kV 50 Hz, 3000V DC, ?1500V DC?)  
-> Delivered to use: 1997 - 2007 the 1016 and 1116 series,
                                     2005 - 2008 the 1216 series.  

-> Number of units: 50 (1016) + 350 (1116) + 50 (1216)    
-> Unit numbers: 
-> Configuration: locomotive + 6 -8 coaches (driving trailer included) 

-> Capacity: 
-> Operated by: ÖBB Railjet division 
-> operations area: Austria, Germany, Hungary,
(soon) Italy,  Swtitzerland
-> Unit length:  meters
-> Unit power: 
-> Operational max. speed: 230 km/h  (143 mph) where possible

-> Mass, metric tons:    
-> heated, airconditioned and pressure controlled environment for the passengers and train service personnel.  

Easy recognition guide

  • yellow, black/dark blue and white livery, yellow on the nose (unlike any ather super high speed train)  
  • rounder nose than on TGVs, significantly narrower carbody    
  • a single train double the length of a usual TGV (18 trailers, Eurostar regional has 14, )

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© Railroad Reference 2004 - 2009  -  Created 1.10.2009  John McKey, Updated 15.11.2009