By September 2021, the Slovenian-Austrian railway tunnel will be brought to a modern safety level – and thus made fit for the coming decades. In this project, Austrian and Slovenian experts work hand in hand, at both engineering consultancy and client level. For the design of the open track sections, the BERNARD Gruppe is solely responsible, and for the design of the tunnel section, it was commissioned together with a consortium partner.

The Karawanks tunnel is part of the Munich-Salzburg-Ljubljana-Thessaloniki transport axis. In order to bring the route to a modern safety level, the tunnel will be extensively renovated and upgraded by September 2021. The almost eight-kilometer-long railway tunnel was put into operation for the first time as early as 1906. As modern safety standards require larger tunnel cross-sections per track than it was the case 115 years ago, the tunnel cross-section must be enlarged. For this reason, the Karawanks tunnel is being converted into a modern, single-track railway tunnel. Despite the reduction to one track, the line will nevertheless be much more efficient. The modernized railway tunnel will allow higher speeds of up to 120 km/h. Thanks to modern control and safety technology, denser intervals will also be possible. As part of the renovation work, the railway tunnel will be equipped with a continuous escape route, new fire protection systems and a fail-safe communication system. In addition, a new overhead conductor rail will be installed, the tunnel vault and the landmarked portal buildings will be renovated and a new drainage system will be implemented. On the Austrian side, the single-track line will then be newly integrated into the Rosenbach station. On the Slovenian side, the route will be rebuilt up to Jesenize station. Construction work started in autumn 2020.

Peter Kastner, BERNARD Gruppe