rail transport l interview l Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic
the market, or prepare new stops. Our largest carrier, České dráhy, a.s., aims to
continue modernising their rolling stock;
all these aspects should make train travel
We also support technological progress
on the railways, both in the area of further
increasing the safety of rail transport by installing a unified European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), and in the
area of new line electrification, which
complies with the State Energy Concept.
p What are the most important
international projects in railway
transport for you?
line through the Vysočina region more
attractive, which can ease the corridor
of the Kolín - Brno section. This line was
used primarily by freight trains from the
1950s until recently. Then, once the modernization of the transit corridor was
completed, freight carriers moved most of
the trains to the route via Česká Třebová
due to lower transport costs. However,
this route is heavily taken up by long-distance passenger transport. We do not
want to disadvantage freight carriers by limiting their traffic in the corridor – actually we would like to motivate them towards
using the parallel route. If a bank engine
was provided to all carriers, it would not
be necessary to use the congested corridor route with heavier trains and the capacity could then be used to increase the
reliability of transport in the corridor, or for
other trains that cannot currently be run
with the required parameters.
Only practice will show if this assumption is true. However, in order to introduce
a bank engine service, it was necessary to
measure the effects of a more modern
electric locomotive train on infrastructure
elements. These tests are currently being
evaluated. The introduction of the service
is expected in the next year.
p The budget for Správa
železnic (Railway Administration)
for this year has risen to 47
billion, where will it be seen?
It will be seen in the commencement of
new sections, such as the Pardubice railway junction or phase 4 of the Plzeň railway junction. It is obvious that substantial
funds are allocated to the continuation of
large construction projects such as Prague-Smíchov – Radotín; Prague Main Station – Hostivař, phase 2; the Sudoměřice Votice construction project containing
tunnels; or the Soběslav – Doubí section
near Tábor. In Moravia, for example, the
Olomouc – Uničov section electrification
project is ongoing, and there is the Přerov
T+T Technika a trh
railway station refurbishment project, phase 2. In addition, a number of smaller projects are taking place on regional lines,
and repairs financed from the CEF Blending call on the 1st or 2nd transit railway
p What are the key steps
leading to the start of high-speed
Several feasibility studies are ongoing and
intensive communication and coordination with neighbouring countries is also under way. High-speed line construction, as
well as other parts of the conventional infrastructure, then begin with fundamental
steps including permission processes, i.e.
EIA, land planning procedures and building permits. Without these, no construction project can be implemented. In 2020,
for example, the contractor for EIA and
documentation for land planning decisions for the Prague – Běchovice – Poříčany construction project should be known
based on a tendering process.
p What is the national
rail transport strategy?
The main document is the Transport Policy for the 2014–2020 period with a view
to 2050. This is currently being updated.
This is followed by other sub-strategies.
In the area of freight transport, there is the
Concept of Freight Transport, which includes railway transport.
The Ministry of Transport is also focusing
on the development of a sustainable railway system that will include European elements in terms of interoperability. Our
aim is to shorten travel times for passenger transport, increase the capacity of line
sections or stations due to freight transport, increase the occupancy of trains,
make maximum use of track capacity
where there will be no improvement
through construction in the near future,
and offer passengers a simpler form of
check-in where we have more carriers on
The new Prague – Dresden high-speed rail link is intensively under way, which includes the construction of a new tunnel under the Krušné Hory mountains. Now
there are ongoing discussions of working
groups at ministry level and infrastructure
managerial level. This connection is perceived as an integral part of the HSL between Berlin – Prague and Vienna, and
between Prague and Frankfurt.
Priority is also being given to the modernisation and electrification of the Pilsen Domažlice – Česká Kubice – border station – Munich/Nuremberg line as a future
long-distance passenger and high capacity freight railway connection from the
Czech Republic to Bavaria and related directions. Recently, discussions with BMVI
have intensified in order to coordinate on
the preparation of the modernisation of
the German section.
Last but not least, discussions are under
way within the framework of V4 cooperation, which includes the preparation of
a high-speed link between Warsaw, Prague,
Brno, Bratislava, and Budapest.
p There have been a number
of level crossing accidents in the
recent past. Are you working on
higher safety at level crossings?
(e.g. adding warning lights, installing barriers, and new technologies for composite
barriers with LED diodes)
Currently, work is under way to increase
the safety of crossings and these intents
will continue to be monitored as part of
project preparation. It must be said that in
the vast majority of cases accidents are
caused by a lack of discipline of road
users, rather than by rail traffic. Within the
activities of BESIP, attention to this is also
being directed to the general public. p
Thank you for the interview
magazine editorial staff