It will take less than two hours to travel by train from Vienna to Graz when one of the longest railroad tunnels—the Semmering Base Tunnel—is completed in 2030. Seamless tube specialist voestalpine Tubulars, based in Kindberg, is making a significant contribution to this project: high-strength mechanical tubes with properties which make them a worthy match for the complex rock formations make the process of tunnel excavation safe.
Ideal mechanical properties and premium quality for challenging geological conditions: our seamless tubes specialist is supplying high strength, quenched and tempered steel tubes via a partner for the Semmering Base Tunnel, one of the most important infrastructure projects in the heart of Europe. This 27-kilometer tunnel runs between Gloggnitz in Lower Austria and Mürzzuschlag in Styria, and after officially opening in 2030 will benefit both passenger and freight traffic. With a minimal gradient of 8.4‰, even heavy freight trains will be able to travel straight through the tunnel powered only by a single locomotive.
We make tunnel construction safe
The complex rock structure with its hard, soft, dry, and wet layers meant that innovative solutions were required. Thanks to voestalpine Tubulars expertise, the tunnel walls were securely stabilized using premium tubes made of high strength, quenched and tempered steel. Specified in three dimensions and different lengths, they are ideal for demanding tunnel construction projects which bore through complex rock formations. ÖBB-Infrastruktur provided a team from voestalpine Tubulars with valuable insights into the tunnel construction site on a tour accompanied by the Rail Cargo Group. During the tour, they explained what makes the construction site so complex. The rock layers and formations at Semmering are so challenging because sand, water, and rock form thin layers, such as you might find in a praline. This creates zones that need to be secured using a special injection drilling procedure before the green light can be given for further stable tunneling. Due to the internal and external pressures, this process step requires high strength tubes with ideal mechanics and absolutely no potential for plastic deformations: tubes from voestalpine Tubulars.
voestalpine Tubulars jacking tubes provide a safe and stable way to excavate and blast through zones
“Tunneling would not be possible without this protection,” states Gernot Graller-Kettler, Spokesman of the voestalpine Tubulars GmbH & Co KG Management Board, confirming the essential function of the premium tubes. He also points out another customer requirement that was fully met:
"The special characteristics of the rock made it necessary to make last-minute adjustments based on geological findings. Thanks to its outstanding flexibility, voestalpine Tubulars successfully executed the just-in-time deliveries required for this construction site."
Seamless tubes are not just for the energy industry
Premium tubes from voestalpine Tubulars are in high demand—not only in the energy industry, the commercial vehicle and automotive industries, and in the alternative energy sector, for hydrogen storage and transport, etc., but also for many construction industry applications. Whether for crane construction, anchor and geotechnical engineering, concrete pumps, or axles for construction machinery, these high-tech seamless tubes are indispensable.
Our path to a green future
We are upping the pace of emissions reduction. greentec steel from voestalpine is Austria’s largest climate protection program. Starting in 2027, this program will reduce Austria’s annual CO2 emissions by almost 5%. 2024 marks the start of the partial shift from the blast furnace to the electric arc furnace (EAF) route—once unresolved funding issues in Austria are clarified.