New train schedule speeds some routes

A new tunnel and a repaired Pendolino train contribute to the changes

The new Czech Railways (ČD) timetable will start Dec. 9. Several lines will be faster and there will be more Pendolino routes.

Faster routes include Prague to Plzeň route, and there will be direct connections between Prague and Opava and from South Moravia and Ostrava to Berlin. The Pendolino will replace some EuroCity and InterCity trains. The naming system for trains will change.

Trains between Prague and Ostrava will newly require a mandatory reservation, though the date this will start has not been announced yet.

The Prague and Plzeň connection is shortened by about a 15 minutes due to the opening of the Ejpovice Tunnel. The connection between Prague and other West Bohemian towns will also be faster. The connections between Prague and Munich will also accelerate.

The Pendolino replaces the EuroCity link on Friday afternoon in the direction of Slovakia. Some InterCity trains will be replaced with Pendolinos between Prague and northern Moravia. At the end of extended weekends or holidays, an evening Pendolino will go from Ostrava to Prague. The new InterCity Opavan route will run between Prague and Opava.

A Pendolino train that had been damaged in an accident has been put back into service after repairs.

From Slovakia, night trains will arrive in Prague early in the morning. From Hungary and southern Slovakia, the last Metropolitan daily connection is extended to Prague, where it will arrive shortly after midnight. Previously this train route ended in Brno.

Conversion of train carriages in Bohumín will create a third daily direct connection between Prague and Warsaw and a brand new direct connection between South Moravia and Krakow.

A new international night train will create a direct link from Vienna via Břeclav and Bohumín to Berlin. The route had been in use in early 20th century but ended after World War II.

The names will be uniform for the whole schedule from the new timetable, as is already the case with the Metropolitan name for the Prague – Brno – Bratislava – Budapest route. Connections from Prague to Vienna and Graz will again be called Vindobona after a four-year break. The name goes back to 1957 when the route was one of the few trains that went from a socialist country to Austria.

Similar changes will also be made to national train lines, so the majority of names for individual trains will disappear from the timetable.

Older train carriages from East Germany will be replaced with modern air-conditioned ones, and the rest will be renovated with new seats and amenities.

A children’s cinema will be introduced on the Prague – Ústí nad Labem – Karlovy Vary – Cheb line.

Czech Railways recently reported that interest in rail travel has been increasing. ČD transported 89 million passengers in the first half of 2018. This was a net increase of approximately 2.5 million passengers. Other domestic carriers also saw increases.

ČD added the most passengers on main routes from Prague to Central and Northern Moravia, and between Prague and České Budějovice.

Last year, trains carried 183 million people, 4 million more than a year earlier, according to Transport Ministry statistics.

Higher growth is expected this year due to increased discounts for students and seniors, which took effect in September and will be reflected in the last quarter’s figures.

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