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Railjet near Budapest
New Siemens Railjet comfort passenger cars
Railjet-Taurus in Saalfelden 2007

The Railjet is a new high speed train of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB), which was introduced with the timetable change of 2008–2009 and operates at speeds of up to 200 km/h (124 mph), with a planned increase to 230 km/h (143 mph) by 2013.

In contrast to other railways, ÖBB has opted for locomotive-hauled push-pull high-speed trains, rather than the more typical Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) style trains represented by recent TGV or ICE designs. A Railjet train set consists of seven individual coaches that are permanently coupled with airtight between-coach interconnections but with normal screw couplings on the outer ends of the set of 7 coaches. This design allows them to be hauled by existing conventional locomotives, and for this role the ÖBB chose locomotives from their large fleet of Taurus locomotives (a variant of which, the ÖBB Class 1216 or Taurus 3, holds the current world speed record for an electric locomotive at 357.18 mph (574.8 km/h). The coach furthest from the locomotive acts as a control car, from which the locomotive may be remotely controlled by the driver in the manner of conventional low-speed push-pull trains.

The Railjet trains therefore provide a flexible compromise between conventional locomotive-hauled trains and conventional high-speed trains particularly suited to the Austrian railway environment where a large number of high-speed capable Taurus locomotives already operate. Although in theory or in future the Railjet train sets may be shortened or extended, current ÖBB practice on busy routes is to combine two complete train sets, with the unusual result (for high-speed trains) of one locomotive at one end of the train and the other locomotive in the middle of the train.

The concept of the train may be seen to be partially derived from the former German Metropolitan Express Train. Similarly to the Metropolitan the Railjet is marketed as a luxury train and provides premium and first classes, although second class is the main class of seating in the train.

Routes

The first route BudapestViennaMunich has operated from December 2008, with the second route ViennaSalzburgBregenz / Zurich following in December 2009. On completion of the current track improvement works, a journey time of 2 hours 15 minutes between Salzburg and Vienna is planned.

Long-term plans:

See also

External links

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