Information published on 20 February 2018 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr .

Slovakia/Austria: Official opening of the TRAM cultural project on 19 February 2018 in Vienna by the presidents of Slovakia and Austria

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The Presidents of Austria and Slovakia officially opened the common Austrian-Slovak cultural project TRAM. The opening ceremony took place at the Vienna Main Station and the CEOs of both OBB and ZSSK were present as well.

On the occasion of numerous significant anniversaries in 2018, the Austrian Embassy has initiated a project establishing a cultural link between Vienna and Bratislava. The contemporary art gallery and cultural centre will regularly, 11 times a day, ply as an ÖBB/ZSSK train on the route between central stations in Vienna and Bratislava. The title TRAM refers to Vienna tram (in German Pressburger Bahn), which has been connecting Vienna and Bratislava since 1914. Vienneses would travel for a cup of coffee or to opera house to Bratislava, Bratislavans to Vienna. The mission of the TRAM project is to support cultural mobility, as well as to provide passengers with an unusual art experience enriching their journey with surprising encounters with contemporary art.

The project has been officially opened by the President of Austria, Alexander van der Bellen and President of Slovakia, Andrej Kiska. A special ceremony took place at the Vienna Main Station (Wien Hauptbahnhof) on the platforms 3 and 4 under the attendance of high level representatives from economy, politics and cultural institutions of both countries. The Slovak President travelled from Bratislava to Vienna on the train together with the delegation of ZSSK. This was for the first time that the Slovak President used the train on an official business trip - thus a very special moment and promotion for the Slovak Railways.

“This project is a symbolic expression of the friendly relations as well as the strong historical and cultural ties between Austria and Slovakia. It is placed in context with numerous important anniversaries that are being celebrated in 2018 by both countries”. Andrej Kiska, the President of Slovakia, said he hopes that this initiative would contribute to bring the people from both countries closer to each other and get to know each other better.

“Projects of this kind help to deepen the mutual understanding of the countries and it is pleasure to see that this activity also promotes the international railway transport which is in the middle of our interests in ZSSK,“ Filip Hlubocký, CEO of ZSSK said in his ceremony-speech.

Both the Austrian President and CEO of ÖBB support the project which very much promotes railways as a transport mode where people meet and know each other, thus contributes to even better understanding between both countries.

“I hope that this cultural project will make the relationship of our countries more intense and firm. It is, at the same time, a very descriptive symbol of our existing relations, as they already are outstanding, on both an economic and cultural level as well as in the sphere of the human relations,“ said the President of Austria Dr Alexander Van der Bellen.

The CEO of ÖBB Andreas Matthä stressed the railway dimensions of the project:
Art is connecting people, it inspires emotions and passions. For over a hundred years the inhabitants have travelled between the two countries to pursue their work, cultural and artistic events, or to visit the relatives and friends. At the moment, the volume is about 5000 passengers a day which is set to increase. Thanks to the ongoing track modernization we expect shortening of the journey-time which will bring Vienna and Bratislava closer together.“

More information about the TRAM project can be found at

http://www.tram.to/en.html

(Source: ZSSK)

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