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[Austria] Vienna Subway


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I thought it's time for the "presentation" of the Vienna Subway - which is Wiener U-Bahn (lit. Viennese Underground Railway) in German. That's why, next to every subway station entrance, there is a U-Bahn Würfel (Subway Cube) erected. Like in this picture on the right. The blue encircled bold U is the official logo of the network at the same time.

Vienna didn't have a subway network until 1978, but technically you can count the 1898-opened Stadtbahn (City Railway) as the first subway in Vienna. A good animation of the line openings can be found here, while it's not quite up to date, as it lacks the latest two extensions. The network consists of basically two systems today, having a combined length of 83.1km (51.64mi) and 98 stations (109 if you count every line extra at interchange stations).

Why two systems you ask? It's simple: Line U1 - U4 are operated with 2.8m wide trains and are equipped with high platforms. The trains also get their power through a third rail and are semi-automatically operated, the operator only has to monitor the passenger interchange in a station. And then there's line U6, which is operated with streetcar-like light rail vehicles. They are narrower than their counterparts on the other lines and are operated manually. This is a reminiscent of the previous Stadtbahn-system, because it would have cost too much to retrofit that line for the bigger trains.

And that's how the network looks today: Five lines (U1 - U4, U6), five different rolling stock classes. 


Rolling Stock

U11 stock


The U11 stock (they should have been classified as U1 stock, but the responsible persons feared, that they this name could be mistaken with the line ... yes. Sure.) consists of 117 twin motor cars, that were designated the numbers 2201+3201 - 2317+3317. They are the second generation of the design award-winning "Silberpfeil" (Silver Arrow) and where built between 1986 (prototypes)/1989 and 1997. As such, they were delivered with three-phase motors instead of DC motors and some other improvements. All units where equipped with LED displays on the front and in the interior - there where rollerblinds before, currently they are being refitted with LED front-lights (the one depicted above already has them). U11 stock operates on all lines (U1 - U4).


U2 (and U) stock


The 74 twin motor cars of U2 stock are extensive modernized U stock (first generation "Silberpfeil"). These were the youngest 74 U stock units (2063+3063 - 2136-3136), which were built between 1978 and 1982 - they were basically rebuilt and equipped with state of the art electronics, new three-phase motors and LED displays on the front and in the interior to extend their life span for another 20 years. A quick excursion to the U stock: 136 double motor cars (2001+3001 - 2136+3136) were delivered between 1972 and 1982, they were the first subway generation, had DC motors and rollerblinds until their end of service in 2016. U2 stock operates only on lines U2 and U3, rarely on U1 and U4. 


V stock


The V stock is Vienna's newest rolling stock, consisting of 62 six-car units that were built in 2000 (prototype) and between 2006 and 2017. They are the first and only walk-through trains in the whole subway system and the first ones to have air conditioning. The six cars are permanently coupled together in the following layout (however, they can be separated into three two-car units in the workshops): v-car (driving car, odd no.) 3801 - 3923 + V-car (motor car, odd) 2401 - 2523 + V-car (odd) 2801 - 2923 + V-car (even) 2802 - 2924 + V-car (even) 2402 - 2524 + v-car (even) 3802 - 3924. V stock operates on all lines (U1 - U4).


T and T1 stock


The T stock are the first low-floor units on U6, 78 of them (2601 - 2678) were built between 1992 and 2000. In service, they operate in a set of four cars. They were refitted with LED display on the front and in the interior in the early 2010's. The local transport authority has recently signed a contract for rebuilding all of them with new electrics and motors, but without air conditioning, which is a shame.

The T1 stock is the further development of the T stock, having new motors, air conditioning and LCD/LED displays built in from the first day on. 66 units where built between 2007 and 2009 and from 2013 to 2014. To guarantee, that every set consists of at least two air conditioned units, they operate in T1+T+T+T1 layout in the summer.


Hope you liked this little introduction to the Vienna Subway. Please don't hesitate to ask me any questions you might have! I'm planning to show you the architecture of the system next, but I don't know when I'll find time to do so, hopefully in the near future. :)

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  • 4 weeks later...

A little test shot with my new wide-aperture lens. V stock 3873/74 is arriving Kagran station on line U1. The skyline of "Donau-City" (very creative: "Danube-City", which would also be the translation for the name of the district it's located in (Donaustadt = Danube City/Town)) can be clearly seen in the background. The U.N. Office in Vienna (or Vienna International Centre (V.I.C.) – colloquially known as "UNO-City", because "UNO-Stadt" would sound dumb) is behind the distant subway station in the right; behind the V.I.C. is Austrias highest skyscraper at 250m (820.2ft) – the highest building would be the "Donauturm" ("Danube Tower") just 2m higher, which is situated in the far right outside of the picture.

The skyline is beautiful and what not, sure, but it's actually a shame, that one of the official U.N. seats is "hidden" by other buildings, but after all, it's not as bad as on the opposite side – you can hardly see the V.I.C. from the Danube!


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