In June 2012, the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Land of Carinthia, working with the Ferrovie Udine Cividale and ÖBB train companies, set up two sets of trains with the aim of connecting Udine (IT) and Villach (AT)’s central stations. The objectives of this project are to:
- Improve local public transport services and the mobility of people in cross-border areas.
- Activate, through connecting Udine and Villach, railway transport links to Vienna, Trieste, and the main Italian cities.
- Enhance tourism in the territories crossed by the railway line, in connection with the Alpe-Adria-Radweg cycle route, which connects Salzburg to Grado, crossing Austria and the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region.
The Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia (IT) and the Land of Carinthia (AT)
The project started by establishing a new railway connection within the Interreg IV Italy-Austria 2007-2013 CBC Programme. Today, the service is facilitated by an agreement between the two railway operators (Austrian railways ÖBB and Ferrovie Udine Cividale) who collaborate by combining their rolling stock (locomotive, wagons and staff).
The project has improved cross-border connections in the mountainous areas and longer distance connections with Vienna and major Italian cities. There was an increase of 54% in the total passenger numbers per year between 2013 and 2018. The project also improved the connection with the Alpe Adria cycle route (with a 180% increase in bicycles transported).
Another important result can be seen in the integration of the service with the existing services at regional level. Indeed, four interoperable trains, bought by the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, are now in service for passenger transport in Austria, and equipped with extra bike spaces.