Prague airport railway requires land-use changes

Adjusting the city's planning documentation will be easier than acquiring new land

Prague will have to change its land-use planning documentation so that a tunnel section between Dejvice and Veleslavín can be built on the proposed railroad line to Kladno with a branch to Václav Havel Airport Prague. A commuter train link to the airport is now the favored solution for connecting the airport with the city. Tram lines and a metro link have also been discussed in the past.

In order to continue the project preparation for the two intended single-track tunnels under the Střešovice district, city representatives have asked the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR) to modify the principles of territorial development. The electrified tracks will not be built by Prague. The state organization Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) will be responsible for it.

A variation calling for a tunnel is more expensive, but it will allow the tracks to be built without complications connected to the ownership of real estate near the current track, Prague Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská (Greens) said, according to daily Pražský deník. “Solving these issues could delay the construction for 10 years,” she said.

Issues with land ownership where stations are to be located have caused long delays with the planned Metro D line, for example, and many of the issues still are not resolved.

The proposed railway, which could handle up to six pairs of trains per hour, will not only offer a faster and more convenient connection between the airport and the center of Prague, but will also improve travel for the inhabitants of Kladno, which is 25 kilometers northwest of Prague. Many people from the city work in Prague, and some 20,000 people tcommute daily.

“The modernization of the line can contribute significantly to the reduction of the car and bus traffic load in Prague 6. In addition to a quick and comfortable connection, it will help create over 1,000 new spaces in the parking lots along the entire length of the route,” Deputy Mayor Petra Kolínská told Pražský deník.

As previously reported, the railway line is at least a decade away from being usable.

Making transportation to Václav Havel Airport Prague has long been a goal of the city. Currently, buses run from the Nádraží Veleslavín metro stop, but the station was built without an escalator to the street. The city is in the process of adding one.

The city has also been testing longer buses to stop overcrowding. Using these buses would require legal changes as they exceed the length limits.

Passenger service at Václav Havel Airport Prague has been increasing, making it urgent to improve the connection. Over the next 20 years, passenger numbers are expected to increase on average by 3.4 percent per year. In 2010 the airport handled 10.9 million passengers, and this year it is expected to see 14 million.

The airport is also investing in expanding the capacity of the terminals so they can handle 17 million people per year and upgrading the runways so they can handle one-third more traffic.

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