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Westbahn continues on an expansion course

Railway company Westbahn have revealed they are offering more trains for winter – but that the ticket price will remain the same.

The revelation comes as the company boss Erich Forster said he doesn't want to get into a legal battle with Austrian state railway operator ÖBB over their competition with each other and would prefer to settle their differences in a friendly way through mediation.

The Westbahn founder and its first boss Stefan Wehinger had seemingly deliberately steered the company onto a confrontation course with the Austrian state operator but in June the was the surprise news that he was to leave.

Forster said that in future they wanted to use the money for lawyers in providing a better service for customers.

He said: "We are not prepared to have to go before court to battle things out with them."

The disappearance of part owner Wehinger has allowed the other owners to increase their share. In future the French state railway SNCF and the privately owned family business of Hans Peter Haselsteiner (Strabag) each have 35 percent and the Augusta Holding reportedly funded by investor Erhard Grossnig has 30%.

The timetable for the current winter season shows instead of 13 daily trains to Vienna and 13 to Salzburg there will be 15 to Vienna and 16 to Salzburg.

The company hopes that the move which represents an 8% increase in the amount of train kilometres they are providing will mean a 15% increase in their presence on the market. The company is also hoping to appear in future in ÖBB train timetables.

The train company sells tickets directly on board the customers which is something about 70% take advantage of with an additional 20% buying their tickets in tobacconists and the rest on the Internet. Because of the new route between Vienna and St Pölten and the short distance between the stops there will also be more ticket collectors in operation.

From a current level of 200 there will be another 15 taken on.

Further routes however are not planned for 2015.

Austrian Times


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