Vienna's mainline train service has long been a headache for city planners and rail travellers alike, with a frequent lack of direct services through the city forcing some travellers to change from rail to tram and back to rail again.
The city and the rail service have planned major changes to the access points which will, eventually, make main-line train and regional services more accessible and sensible.
Like most major cities, Vienna has the main-line stations used by all services and a selection of smaller regional stations used by the regional service, which is known as the S-Bahn. The Vienna Underground train services are known as the U-Bahn.
Thus a big station may have three different services: the main rail service, the regional rail service and the city underground trains. They will also be connected into the bus and tram services.
Vienna's train system is currently undergoing major construction work to reorganise the rather chaotic rail connections to and through the city.
This changes some of the main access stations for travellers coming into the city as well as some of the regional S-Bahn services.
Éssentially, most of the old Südbahnhof (the southern terminal in the city) has been closed (from December 2009) and the new main railway station is being built in its place. The Südbahnhof was originally the access point for those coming from the south and east, especially from Eastern Europe.
Connections from the Westbahnhof to Vienna Meidling are via the U-Bahn. There are S-Bahn services between Vienna Meidling and the new Hauptbahnhof, which can also be reached via the U-Bahn.
The reason for all of this construction and confusion is the construction of the new Vienna Main railway station, which is opened partially in 2012 and is scheduled to be completely finished in 2015. This long-awaited project is designed to be a through station so that trains from Innsbruck or Munich, for example, can travel directly through Vienna to the east.
The new Vienna Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) will be a modern transport centre designed to create a whole new city district around the current Südbahnhof area. More than 100 shops are planned for the City Bahnhof development as well as new residential development around the main station.
The S-Bahn is the regional service for Vienna and the surrounding districts (the "S" stands for "schnell" - "quick" in German). There are ten different main lines (there are a few smaller lines as well) and nearly 150 stations served by the local network (which is still run by the main Austria train operator, the ÖBB). Many of the services run on different lines to the main train service.
Main-line train tickets which involve crossing the city and all Vienna public transport tickets are also valid for use on the S-Bahn.
With the map of Vienna below, you can zoom in or out or move in all directions by using the controls to the left. And the buttons on the top right switch between a traditional map view, a satellite view and a mixture of the two.
Vienna is an important transport hub for central and eastern Europe and has a good choice of ways of getting to the city and of moving around once you are there.