11th November 2016

205th Žofín Forum: High-speed railroads to connect Czech Rep with Germany, Austria first, capital cities of Czech regions to be max 2 hrs of train travel away from each other

The 205th Žofín Forum held on 8 November focused on the issues within the railroad transportation.All presentations are available here (in Czech).

The construction of a new high-speed railroad network in the Czech Republic could cost the state roughly CZK 360bn. Both EU funds and Connecting Europe Facility as well as, to a limited extent, national sources could be used for funding. Involvement of private sources is also possible. At a conference on the future of railroad, this statement was made by Ministry of Transport strategy department head Luděk Sosna who added that the construction of new tracks could begin around 2030. According to him, the priority for the first years will be the connection between Prague and Dresden. The backbone route between Prague and Brno is important in terms of intrastate transport., ČIANEWS wrote.

The milestones for works on high-speed railroad development and construction in the Czech Republic are the years 2030 and 2050. The high-speed railroads should connect the Czech Republic with Germany and Austria first (connection Prague-Ústí nad Labem-Dresden and Pilsen-Munich, as well as Brno-Břeclav-Bratislava-Vienna]. Brno-Přerov high-speed railroad is planned within the 2030 batch of works, whereas Brno-Prague connection is planned within the year 2050 milestone. This latter batch of works includes the plan to connect Prague with Poland either via Liberec or Hradec Králové. As for rail freight, the plan is to built a 26-kilometer-long tunel through Krušné hory/Erzgebirge which should allow freight trains speed up to 120 kilometers per hour. Read details in Czech by the Czech News Agency CTK.

Besides high-speed trains connecting the Czech Republic with its neighbours, there is the ministerial concept of fast-track connection (RS Rychlé spojení) of the Prague region with all major cities in the other 13 Czech regions. The length of travel should not exceed 2 hours, Pavel Surý of SŽDC  Railway Infrastructure Administration said on the 205th Žofín Forum. 

According to Petr Šlegr of the Centre for Effective Transportation, an NGO, currently only 9% of train connections between the capital cities of Czech regions are faster or equally fast as car drive between these cities. In his presentation, he has shown, that currently it takes less time to travel via Germany only (that means circumventing the Czech Republic) when trying to get from Berlin to Vienna or from Munich to Warsaw by train. And this is why high-speed railroads are needed, but the process of preparations has to change. (See also infographics how the high-speed train network and travel times could look like.)

Also, State Transport Infrastructure Fund’s (SFDI) budget spending in 2017 will reach an estimated total of CZK 82.09bn. The Road and Motorway Directorate (ŘSD) should obtain CZK 45.75bn, the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) CZK 32.35bn and the Directorate of Waterways CZK 883m. This was stated by SFDI’s director’s office head Ivo Vykydal at the 205th Žofín Forum. Mr. Vykydal has added that other recipients will obtain CZK 3.10bn. Income from European funds will total CZK 30.09bn, ČIANEWS wrote. 

Read also an article by the info.cz portal on the idea of having a hyperloop connection between Prague and Brno. 

Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic