The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation, and Technology have begun the process of obtaining permits for a project for construction of the Austrian segment of a 1520-mm gauge railway line that could connect Russia and Ukraine with Slovakia and Vienna.

This was reported by the CFTS portal, citing the Zaliznychnye Postachannya journal.

The beginning of this process will lay the legal foundation for a detailed assessment of the possible options for the railway line, as well as for securing the necessary funding.

Primarily, the project must undergo an environmental review.

The railway line, along with a new bridge across River Danube, is expected to begin at the Čierna nad Tisou railway station, which is located on the Slovak-Ukrainian border, and it will run parallel to the planned D4 Highway that will run south of Bratislava to the Austrian border near the village of Kittsee.

The option for construction of the 1520-mm gauge railway that is being proposed for consideration passes through Kittsee, and a track-change terminal is planned to be built near the Kledering sorting station in southern Vienna.

As the CFTS portal reported, the European Commission refused to finance the development of a 1520-mm gauge railway line from Kosice (Slovakia) to Vienna (Austria), which some called the Nord Stream railway, in August.

The Austrian government proposed inclusion of this railway project in the Trans-European Transport Network, but the European Commission rejected the proposal.

Austria is still hoping that the project for construction of a railway line from the Russian Federation through Ukraine and Slovakia will nevertheless be included in the future Trans-European Transport Network after further negotiations.

As the CFTS portal reported earlier, the cost of construction of a 1520-mm gauge railway from Kosice to Vienna was estimated at EUR 6.4 billion as of November 2018. The figure was EUR 6.7 billion in November 2017.

The project for construction of a 450-kilometer, wide-gauge railway from Kosice (Slovakia) to Bratislava (Slovakia) and Vienna (Austria), which would be an extension of the existing Uzhhorod (Ukraine) – Haniska pri Košiciach Highway, has been under development since 2007. The national railway operators of Ukraine, Russia, Slovakia, and Austria signed the corresponding memorandum at the time. The parties agreed to launch the pre-design research stage of the project in Vienna in 2008, agreed to create the relevant joint venture in 2009, and agreed to prepare the rationale for investment in the project in 2010.