Changes coming to train travel

Some route will be faster but there will be less night travel

A new train timetable that will start in early 2018 will speed up some international travel by up to half an hour. The train numbers should also increase. Night-time travel due to widespread change across Europe will be reduced.

“The most extensive changes in the new 2018 timetable await customers of the Prague – Plzeň – Domažlice – Regensburg – Munich lines. Trains will travel more often and will be faster. The number of links will increase from four to seven. The travel time is shortened to approximately five and three-quarters of an hour, which is about twenty minutes less than with current connections,” Michal Štěpán, the Czech Railways (ČD) board member responsible for passenger transport, told the media.

“Passengers can also look forward to more comfortable coaches from a German partner with whom we operate the Czech-Bavarian line,” he added.

ČD is counting on more connections to Bavaria being of great interest, as the current connections are already well used. Tickets are subject to regional prices, and with a group and weekend discounts, making them very affordable.

From the new year, travelers will also get from Prague to Budapest a quarter of an hour faster. Most of the connections will have a uniform name, Metropolitan. Exceptions will be the express trains Hungaria and Metropolitan Slovenská Strela.

Transport to Poland will also improve. “After successful seasonal operation of the daily express train Cracovia from Prague to Krakow, we will expand its operation in cooperation with PKP Intercity for the year round. Tourists, students, and business travelers will get good regular daily connections to the second-largest most important city in Poland all year round,” Štěpán said.

The connection between Moravia and Katowice is also expanding. The daily pair of express trains from Bohumín to Vienna and back will be extended to Katowice, Poland.

Thanks to construction work on the Slovak corridor in the Váh valley, the EuroCity train from Prague to Žilina will again be accelerated through Valašsko. These trains will be about 10 minutes faster.

There is less interest in night travel across Europe, including the Czech Republic. European carriers are striving to maintain the economic sustainability of night transport.

“Czech Railways wants to continue to offer its customers a comfortable night connection, where you can sleep in a comfortable bed or couchette and arrive at your destination in the morning. We are working with our foreign partners on night links and together we are looking for models that will enable us to offer high-quality, comfortable but affordable and economically sustainable services. In practice, this means, for example, merging some connections into a single train or driving more trains only seasonally,” ČD's Štěpán said.

The major changes in night traffic are on the lines operated in cooperation between the national carriers the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The night train EN 442/443 Slovakia is going to newly run all year long, with beds and lounges and seating on the Prague to Humenné route.

The second night train EN 444/445 Bohemia from Prague to Košice will take place seasonally during the Christmas holidays, Easter, the summer tourist season and the autumn extended weekends.

Other changes to night travel affect a Berlin – Prague – Budapest route, which will now only run from Prague to Budapest and have cabins only from Prague to Vienna. Service to Berlin should return on the 2019 schedule with more comfortable trains.

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