Information published on 28 June 2016 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 505.

Czech Republic: The biggest players on the Czech railway market sign memorandum on the improvement of Prague-Munich train service

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Three directors, the director of the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SZDC), Czech Railways (CD a.s.) and CD Cargo, have signed a memorandum on cooperation in an effort to achieve a major improvement in the connection between Prague and Munich. Due to the current travel time of almost six hours, the railway line stands no chance to compete. Non-electrified single-track section from Plzen to Regensburg with two set-backs disqualifies both passengers and freight transport in battling for customers.

“This is the reason why we have joined the Memorandum. The flow of goods and materials between the Czech Republic and Bavaria currently takes place mainly on the road,” said the Chairman of Board of CD Cargo, a.s., Mr Ivan Bednarik. “Concerning the development of the infrastructure, the Czech Republic is behind the times. That’s why the international freight transport walks around us. There is a common western practice nowadays to compile trains with a length of 820m, which is something absolutely unthinkable for us. “

International transport for the Czech Railways is a segment, which develops dynamically and generates strong growth in revenues. Therefore the national carrier in cooperation with DB has been focusing on the quality of the services and the connections between Prague, Berlin and Hamburg over a long period of time. Equally important, however, it is the line from Prague to Munich in terms of the international lines network. The pressure on Bavarian and federal authorities has been recently increased by the top representatives of the Czech Republic as well. The main goal is to make this line one of the priorities of the German Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (Bundesverkehrswegeplan).

“Our organisation plans to improve the infrastructure parameters on the Czech section of the track. Nevertheless, the same effort on modernisation of the related lines from the CR to Munich will be undoubtedly important from the German part. The signing of the Memorandum is supposed to be a message that we take seriously the agreements between the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and the Chancellor Merkel, as well as the agreements of Ministers of Transport on improving of the railway connections,” stated Pavel Sury, the CEO of the SZDC.

“I was recently present at the opening of the Gotthard tunnel on the north – south axis between Frankfurt and Milan. It may seem unimportant for the Czech Railways but the opposite is true. It means that we have to increase the pressure on modernisation of the east – west connection as well, of which we are logically the part. Otherwise, we will end up cut off and the international long-distance transportation will go around us. If we managed to shorten the travel time from the current six hours to four and half, many people would prefer trains instead of cars and planes,” added the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the CEO of CD, a.s.

“We will immediately communicate the signed Memorandum to the foreign partners, particularly in Germany in attempt to lobby for the high priority of the Prague-Munich line in the above-mentioned plan. Furthermore, we are going to promote it in Brussels amongst MEPs, European Commission, the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), as well as UIC and OSJD”, concluded the member of the Board of Directors of CD, a.s. for projects and international relations, Mr Roman Sterba.

(Source: ČD)