Brenner Railway

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Innsbruck–Bozen–Verona railway
ÖBB 4024-076 nahe dem Bahnhof Matrei, Brennerbahn, 01.11.2016.jpg
A regional train passes KM 91,5 towards Matrei station
on the late afternoon of All Saint's Day 2016.
Overview
Locale Austria and Italy
Line number
  • 302 02 Austria
  • 42 (Brenner–Bozen)
  • 43 (Bozen–Verona)
Technical
Line length 275.4 km (171.1 mi)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Minimum radius 264 m (866 ft)
Electrification
  • 15 kV 16.7 Hz Austria
  • 3 kV Italy
Operating speed 180km/h (max)
Maximum incline
  • north ramp: 2.5%
  • south ramp: 2.25%
Route number
  • 300 (Salzburg Hbf - Brennero/Brenner)
  • 301 (Jenbach - Telfs-Pfaffenhofen / Steinach in Tirol)
  • 50 (Italy)
Route map

Map of the Brenner railway

from Kufstein
75.130
Innsbruck Hbf
 S1   S2   S3   S4   S5  582 metres m AMSL
Arlberg and Mittenwald railways
76.725
Bergisel tunnel
662m
78.198
Sonnenburg tunnel
249m
79.646
Innsbruck Hbf 1 junction
80.291
Ahrnwald tunnel
165m
80.809
Schupfen tunnel
35m
81.295
Unterberg-Stefansbrücke
 S3   S4 
716 m AMSL
81.648
Unterberg tunnel
49m
82.662
Patsch tunnel
176m
83.905
Innsbruck Hbf 2 crossover
84.718
Patsch
 S3   S4 
784 m AMSL
85.403
Schönberg tunnel
89m
85.726
Mühltal tunnel
872m
86.936
Moserwiese tunnel
74m
91.847
Matrei tunnel
124m
93.281
Matrei am Brenner
 S3   S4 
995 m AMSL
97.884
Steinach in Tirol
 S3   S4 
1048 m AMSL
101.918
St. Jodok
 S4 
1141 m AMSL
102.427
Sankt Jodok spiral tunnel
480m
104.323
Stafflach tunnel
283m
106.189
Gries tunnel
173m
106.651
Gries am Brenner
 S4 
1255 m AMSL
106.917
Steinach in T. 2 crossover
110.900
Brennersee
1351 m AMSL
111.145
Steinach in T. 4 junction
track 302&nsafesubst:BSp;11 to the terminal
111.425
Brennersee Terminal
111.561
maintenance border ÖBB / RFI
111.663
240.083
Border Austria / Italy
239.533
Brennero/Brenner
 S4 
1371 m AMSL
236.200
Brennerbad (former spa)
1310 m AMSL
13.10
Moncucco/Schelleberg
1242 m AMSL
Pflersch tunnel
7.267m
Ast spiral tunnel
761m
226.70
Fleres/Pflersch
1130 m AMSL
222.80
Colle Isarco/Gossensaß
1100 m AMSL
Eisack bridge I
1 span
217.00
Vipiteno/Sterzing
943 m AMSL
Campo di Trens/Freienfeld
935 m AMSL
Palude di Vipiteno bridge
3 spans
208.90
Mules/Mauls
900 m AMSL
204.30
Le Cave/Grasstein
843 m AMSL
200.80
Mezzaselva/Mittewald
798 m AMSL
197.00
Fortezza/Franzensfeste
747 m AMSL
197.00
Puster Valley railway (S.Candido/Innichen)
192.19
Varna/Vahrn
650 m AMSL
188.36
Bressanone/Brixen
577 m AMSL
Eisack bridge II
2 spans
184.70
Albès/Albeins
548 m AMSL
Funes/Villnöß
539 m AMSL
178.24
Chiusa/Klausen
523 m AMSL
172.43
422 m AMSL
Rötele bridge
1 span
Castelrotto/Kastelruth/
428 m AMSL
Schlern tunnel
13.159 m
Campodazzo/Atzwang
373 m AMSL
Eisack bridge I
2 spans
Tunnel VII
55m
Tunnel VI
72m
Tunnel V
60m
Tunnel IV
62m
Tunnel III
79m
Tunnel II
57m
Völsersteig/ Fiè allo Sciliar
340 m AMSL
Tunnel I
40m
157.99
Prato all'Isarco/Blumau
315 m AMSL
Kardaun tunnel
3.789m
Prato Tires tunnel
430m
Cardano/Kardaun
283 m AMSL
Kardaun bridge
1 span
150.23
Bolzano/Bozen
266 m AMSL
148.59
142.56
Laives/Leifers
230 m AMSL
139.29
Bronzolo/Branzoll
227 m AMSL
134.17
Ora/Auer
223 m AMSL
128.40
Egna/Neumarkt
217 m AMSL
124.42
Magrè/MargreidCortaccia/Kurtatsch
216 m AMSL
118.99
Salorno/Salurn
211 m AMSL
111.62
Mezzocorona
110.50
104.32
Lavis
95.43
Trento goods station
94.79
Trento
93.01
87.22
Mattarello
78.91
Calliano,
closed 12.12.2004
71.21
Rovereto
66.91
Mori
60.86
Serravalle
54.68
Ala
50.36
Avio
45.48
Borghetto
40.36
Peri
32.77
Dolcè
22.80
Domegliara–S.Ambrogio
16.98
Pescantina
11.65
Verona Parona
6.39
S.Massimo junction/P.C.[1] to Milan and Bologna
Adige river
3.37
Verona Porta Nuova
0.00
Verona Porta Vescovo
[2][3]
Innsbruck station at the north end of the Brenner railway

The Brenner Railway (German: Brennerbahn; Italian: Ferrovia del Brennero) is a major line connecting the Austrian and Italian railways from Innsbruck to Verona, climbing up the Wipptal (German for “Wipp Valley”), passing over the Brenner Pass, descending down the Eisacktal (German for “Eisack Valley”) to Bolzano/Bozen, then further down the Adige Valley to Roverto/Rofreit, and along the section of the Adige Valley, called in Italian the “Vallagarina”, to Verona. This railway line is part of the Line 1 of Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T). It is considered a "fundamental" line by the state railways Ferrovie dello Stato (FS).[4]

History[edit]

The railway line was designed under the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the mid-19th century to ensure rapid and safe transport between Tyrol and northern Italy, especially Lombardy–Venetia. It was thus strategically important not only for economic but also for military reasons, as Austria was strongly committed to maintaining its borders south of the Alps.

The first section to be built was the lower section between Verona and Bolzano/Bozen. The design of this section was approved on 10 July 1853 by the engineer Alois Negrelli, an employee of the Südbahn, known for having built other Alpine railway lines and for developing a project of the Suez Canal. The section was opened in two different parts: on 23 March 1859 between Verona to Trento/Trient and 16 May 1859 from Trento/Trient to Bolzano/Bozen. This construction was handled by the k.k. Nord- und SüdTiroler Staatsbahn (German: "North and South Tyrol State Railways"), but the company was taken over by the new Austrian Southern Railway (German: Südbahn) at the beginning of 1859.[5]

Despite the loss of Veneto in the Third Italian War of Independence and its consequent shift of the border between Italy and Austria to Borghetto on the current boundary of Trentino and Verona in October 1866, the upper section from Bolzano/Bozen to Innsbruck was incomplete. The 127-km route from Innsbruck to Bolzano/Bozen took only three years to build. This section had been under construction and was finally opened on 24 August 1867. The main designer and engineer, Karl von Etzel, died in 1865; he was not able to witness the completion of his work. After the Semmering railway, this Brenner Line was the second mountain railway built within the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was also the first through line to cross over the Alps.

The section south of Borghetto became part of the Società per le strade ferrate dell'Alta Italia (Italian for Upper (Northern) Italian Railways, SFAI) in 1866.[6] In the 1885 reorganisation it was absorbed by the Società per le Strade Ferrate Meridionali (Adriatic Network).[7] The line came under the control of Ferrovie dello Stato upon its establishment in 1905.

In 1919, Italy acquired Trentino-South Tyrol under the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the Austro-Italian border moved to Brenner. The section from Trento/Trient to Brenner was subsequently electrified at 3,700 V at three-phase 16.7 Hz between 1929 and 1934.[8] Electrification was converted to 3,000 V DC on 30 May 1965.

In preparation for the proposed Brenner Base Tunnel, the Innsbruck bypass was completed in 1994 to improve access to the Lower Inn Valley railway. The bypass consists of a 12.75-kilometre tunnel (Austria's longest) and aims to remove the bulk of the freight train traffic from Innsbruck. In Italy, several new sections have been built, removing sections of line with several short tunnels with small cross sections. These include the 13.159-metre long Sciliar tunnel opened in 1994, the 7.267-metre long Pflersch tunnel opened in 1999 and the 3,939-metre long Cardano tunnel opened in 1998.

Future[edit]

Following a sharp increase in freight traffic through the Brenner Pass (largely on road), the railway is currently considered to have insufficient capacity. Moreover, its steep grades, tight radius bends and the need to change locomotive engines at Brenner due to two different electrical systems as used in Austria and Italy mean that the average travel speed is low. For these reasons, the creation of a new line is planned from Verona to Munich via Innsbruck. At the heart of this project lies a 55 kilometre-long tunnel between Franzensfeste and Innsbruck, known as the Brenner Base Tunnel.[9]

Route[edit]

The maximum grade on the track is 31 per thousand. The minimum curve radius is 264 metres. The highest point of the track is Brenner station at 1,371 m, which is also the highest point reached on the standard gauge networks of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) and the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) networks.

To overcome the steep climb (796 metres between Innsbruck and Brenner) two spiral tunnels were built, using the sides of a valley at St. Jodok on the Austrian side and the sides of the Pflerschtal (German for "Pflersch Valley") on the Italian side.

At Brenner station, located on the Brenner Pass (1371 metres), there is a monument to the designer, Karl von Etzel. This station is situated at the border between Italy and Austria and also the operational border between the ÖBB and FS networks. The two companies operate different electrical systems, (15,000 V AC at 16.7 Hz in Austria, and 3,000 V DC in Italy), which requires a stop to change electric locomotives. For this reason, for a long time the operation of express trains from Munich to Verona and Milan was carried out with diesel railcars. Until 30 May 1965 was also needed a second engine change in Bolzano station, as the Bolzano–Brenner section still operated under three-phase AC electrification.

In recent years the introduction of multicurrent rolling stock, which can be run on both the Austrian and Italian networks, has made it possible, at least in principle, to avoid locomotive changes. However, the need for locomotives to carry equipment for different signalling systems and to have safety approvals for different networks and lines, and the need for staff to know operating rules and routes has limited multicurrent operations in practice.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Posti di comunicazione", that is a crossover.
  2. ^ Eisenbahnatlas Österreich (Austrian railway atlas). Schweers + Wall. 2010. ISBN 978-3-89494-138-3. 
  3. ^ Atlante ferroviario d'Italia e Slovenia (Italian and Slovenian railway atlas). Schweers + Wall. 2010. ISBN 978-3-89494-129-1. 
  4. ^ Ferrovie dello Stato
  5. ^ Kalla-Bishop 1971, p. 21
  6. ^ Kalla-Bishop 1971, p. 41
  7. ^ Kalla-Bishop 1971, p. 52
  8. ^ Kalla-Bishop 1971, p. 103
  9. ^ "The Brenner Base Tunnel". Amministrazione trasparente Galleria di Base del Brennero - Brenner Basistunnel BBT SE. Retrieved 1 January 2016. 

References[edit]

  • Rete FS in esercizio (FS operational network) (PDF) (in Italian), Ferrovie dello Stato, retrieved 4 February 2010 
  • Facchinelli, L. (1995), La ferrovia Verona–Brennero. Storia della linea e delle stazioni nel territorio (the Verona–Brennero railway, history of the lines and stations in the area) (in Italian), Bolzano: Athesia 
  • Kalla-Bishop, P. M. (1971), Italian Railways, Newton Abbott, Devon, England: David & Charles, ISBN 0-7153-5168-0 
  • Mori, Edoardo, La ferrovia da Verona a Monaco di Baviera (The railway from Verona to Munich) (in Italian), Calosci Editore 

See also[edit]

Coordinates: 46°18′26″N 11°14′51″E / 46.30722°N 11.24750°E / 46.30722; 11.24750