Karawanks Tunnel (railway)

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The northern entrance to the tunnel
The southern entrance to the tunnel
The northern entrance to the tunnel during the Austro-Slovene conflict in Carinthia, 1918 or 1919.

The Karawanks Tunnel (German: Karawankentunnel, Slovene: Predor Karavanke) is the fourth longest railway tunnel in Austria and the longest in Slovenia with a length of 7,976 metres (26,168 ft) (4.96 miles). The tunnel passes under Rožca Saddle between Rosenbach in southern Austria and Jesenice in northern Slovenia. It was an important part of the Karawanken Railway, which was - together with the Bohinj Railway - built to connect the port of Trieste with Klagenfurt, the capital of the federal state of Carinthia in Austria.[1]

Between 1867-1918, Trieste was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was Austria's first seaport and the principal outlet for the Austro-Hungarian Empire's ocean trade, but it lacked adequate railway communication with Austria's interior. To give a great impetus to the trade of Trieste in particular and to the over-sea trade of Austria in general, it was decided in 1901 to build the Karawanken Railway, connecting Trieste and Klagenfurt. The railway was built over and through the Karawanks, Europe's longest (120 km/70 mi) mountain range, on the border between what are now Slovenia and Austria. The Karawanks Tunnel was opened on October 1, 1906, by Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

The tunnel is still of importance to international train traffic. It is traversed by more than 80 trains a day.[2]

Modification + Renovation 2020-2021[edit]

Starting by 2020, the twin-track tunnel, will be reduced to single track over a period of one year. As a result, a rescue passage can be constructed from the unused area. At the same time, the building, which is over 100 years old, is to be brought up to the state of the art. This includes the installation of a ceiling busbar, the renewal of the drainage and the tunnel floor, as well as the partial renovation of the tunnel vault by new anchors, reinforcement and concrete. The new safety standards will enable a higher operating speed inside the tunnel and make the tunnel RoLa - suitable. Despite the fact that the tunnel will only be operated with only one track in the future, this should not be an obstacle in relation to the volume of traffic.

The project has a total budget of 115 million euros, divided over the kilometers of each country, Slovenia contributes 50 million euros, Austria 65.3 million euros. The project is financially supported by the European Union within the framework of the Connecting Europe Facility Program.[3]


  1. ^ European Report (December 4, 1999). "New loan raises EIB lending for Slovenian motorways to Euro 550 million". HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on May 17, 2011.
  2. ^ Video (Tunnel: 3:20 - 3:45)
  3. ^ "Ein Jahr Bauzeit: ÖBB investieren 110 Millionen Euro in Karawanken-Bahntunnel". www.kleinezeitung.at (in German). Retrieved 2018-10-31.

Coordinates: 46°31′16″N 14°01′34″E / 46.521°N 14.026°E / 46.521; 14.026