City plans to greatly improve train travel

A plan calls for new high-speed lines and improvements to commuter lines

Trains will play a much greater role to play in urban transport than before, according to the final version of a plan by the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR).

There should be completely new routes from Prague to Central Bohemia in the coming years.

The city in the long run wants to reduce car traffic and encourage development of alternative means of transportation.

Approximately 100 pages of material outline the current shortcomings of Prague's railway system. Most of the lines have insufficient capacity. Almost all lines crossed over the Vltava river either on the Výton bridge, which is at capacity and needs a third track, or on the Negrelli viaduct, which is undergoing reconstruction.

New tunnels are also planned.

Some stops, stations and equipment are obsolete, according to the IPR. The most problematic connections are from the Praha hlavní nádraží via the Vinohrady tunnels to Vršovice, Smíchov and Vysočany and from Libeň to Kolín.

The IPR foresees the development of 15 railway lines, including renovation, electrification, significant strengthening of connections, and new stops.

It also counts on five high-speed lines to end at Praha hlavní nádraží. The long-distance lines should connect Prague in one hour with Brno or Liberec, in two hours with Ostrava or Dresden, in three hours with Berlin or Munich and in four hours with Frankfurt.

Moving long-distance trains to new high-speed lines will significantly improve the operation of the suburban railway and ensure its further development, according to the IPR.

Prague’s main lines will be double-tracked and electrified, and the trains will travel at intervals of 10 to 15 minutes. Other tracks will be electrified and trains will travel at an interval of 15 to 30 minutes. On the line at Václav Havel Airport Prague the interval should be 10 minutes.

The plan also counts on the development of freight transport in the city.

The concept was approved by the previous management of Prague and is intended to serve as a basis for the future shape of the rail operation in Prague, which will be overseen by the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC).

“We believe that railways are crucial for the future development of Prague. We need to serve the entire region and connect with Europe, while at the same time facilitate mass transport. The document clearly describes our vision,” IPR director Ondřej Boháč said previously.

Interest in rail travel has increased in the past decade, according to Prague Integrated Transport (PID) data. Some 73 percent more passengers traveled in 2017 than in 2008.

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