Austrian Southern Railway

The Austrian Southern Railway (German: Österreichische Südbahn) is a 577.2 km long double track railway, which linked the capital Vienna with Trieste, former main seaport of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, by railway for the first time. It now forms the Southern Railway in Austria and the Spielfeld-Straß–Trieste railway in Slovenia and Italy.

Austrian Southern Railway
Borovnica viaduct by Varoni.jpg
Native nameSüdbahn
TypeHeavy rail, Passenger/Freight rail
Regional rail
Operator(s)Austrian Federal Railways
Slovenske Železnice
Rete Ferroviaria Italiana
OpenedStages between 1841 and 1857
Line length577.2 km (358.7 mi)
Number of tracksDouble track
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge
Minimum radius171 m
Electrification15 kV/16,7 Hz AC Overhead line (Austria)
3 kV DC Overhead line (Slovenia and Italy)
Maximum incline2.8%

Construction and historyEdit

Section Opening
Wiener Neustadt-Baden 16 March 1841
Baden-Mödling 29 March 1841
Mödling-Vienna 20 June 1841
Graz-Celje 2 June 1846
Celje-Ljubljana 18 June 1849
Wiener Neustadt-Mürzzuschlag 23 October 1853
Ljubljana-Postojna 20 November 1856
Postojna-Trieste 27 July 1857

Borovnica viaductEdit

The 561 m long and 38 m high Borovnica railway viaduct (also known as Franzdorfer viadukt in German) in Borovnica, Slovenia, was completed in 1856. The viaduct was badly damaged during World War II and demolished completely a few years after.


The section from Graz to the Slovenian border (near Šentilj v Slovenskih goricah), which had been downgraded to a single track railway in the 1950s, is currently again rebuilt as a double track line. On the Slovenian section, work is in progress to upgrade and renovate Pragersko railway station as well as the line and railway crossings from Maribor to Celje. A new viaduct and tunnel are being built between Maribor and Pesnica. The old route will be turned into a bike path. The upgrades in Maribor railway station, Slovenska Bistrica railway station, Poljčane railway station and Celje railway station have already been completed.


Infrastructure and transport management on the line is now provided by three railway companies: Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) for the Austrian section, Slovenske železnice (SŽ) for the Slovenian one, and Italian railway infrastructure manager Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) for the Italian section.


  • Dietrich, Herbert. Die Südbahn und ihre Vorläufer. Wien, 1994. ISBN 3-7002-0871-5
  • Mit Volldampf in den Süden : 150 Jahre Südbahn Wien-Triest. Wien, 2007
  • Brate, Tadej. Die Geschichte der slowenischer Eisenbahnen auf Ansichtkarten, Celjska Mohorjeva družba, Celje. 2013. COBISS 265950720 , ISBN 978-961-278-064-7