Czech Railways adding extra carriages over peak holiday times

Train and bus operators report high demand for both domestic and international travel, with some routes sold out. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 21.12.2022 12:00:00 (updated on 21.12.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech Railways (ČD) will reinforce long-distance trains on its busiest routes before the Christmas holidays and on New Year's Day. Extra carriages will offer several hundred additional seats. The extra carriages will be dispatched from Dec. 22 and will run until Jan. 2.

ČD will put most of the extra cars into service on Dec. 22 and 23 and then at the end of the Christmas holidays on Jan. 1 and 2. The carriages will be included on long-distance lines between Prague and Moravian cities, on southern and western express lines and on other routes. ČD will put one extra high-speed Pendolino train into circulation and a high-speed Railjet engine on another train, ČD announced in a press release.

Nevertheless, high occupancy rates are to be expected at peak times, thus ČD recommends early booking. Passengers without a reservation should consider using trains during off-peak hours or, if they can, plan their journey for an off-peak day. Selected connections to Slovakia are also fully booked or with the last available seats.

An overview of the availability and free seats can be found in the e-shop or in the Můj vlak app by entering the seat reservation option from the timetable.

If most of the seats on a connection are already marked as reserved, ČD recommends looking for a connection at another time.

Weaker traffic over Christmas

On Dec. 24, ČD services will operate as on a public holiday and the operation of most regional and some long-distance trains will be gradually reduced around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. Most regional trains have a note in the timetable that they do not run on Christmas Eve. This applies to services throughout the Czech Republic. Many domestic fast trains will not run in the evening either, for example the last fast train from Prague’s main station Hlavní nádraží to České Budějovice will leave at 6:21 p.m.

On Dec. 25, trains will also run according to the holiday timetables, but the classic holiday service will start a little later, between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. ČD trains will also run according to holiday timetables on Dec. 26.

Due to lower demand for travel on Dec. 24–26, the operation of some connections will be restricted. Passengers are asked to pay close attention to the information about the service restrictions during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Specific details of the restrictions on individual trains are given in the electronic connection search engines, and in the timetable books the date restrictions are marked with notes.

Other carriers also see high peak demand

Independent rail company RegioJet will increase the capacity of train services by 15 to 20 percent before Christmas. During the Christmas holidays, bus service capacity will be increased as needed, the company said.

It will deploy enhanced connections from Dec. 20 to Jan. 2 and is already strengthening Friday and weekend connections in response to growing demand. Booster cars are currently available on the Prague to Košice and Prague to Přemyšl lines on selected days. The popularity of connections to Slovakia is high, Regiojet said in a press release. The lines Prague – Vienna – Budapest and Prague – Bratislava – Žilina are also being strengthened.

Connections from Prague are already sold out, according to RegioJet. According to the company, there are still plenty of vacancies in the opposite direction. In the period between holidays, only some international connections are sold out. Among the busiest are connections from Košice to Prague, or connections between Budapest and Prague.

Some Leo Express connections are almost sold out and there are no plans to increase the connections, spokesman Emil Sedlařík told ČTK. Interest is mainly in traveling between Prague and Moravia, as well as to Slovakia and Poland.

FlixBus has not yet announced schedule changes but is monitoring the situation. The greatest interest in domestic routes is for trips between Prague and Brno, and there is also great demand for trips to Karlovy Vary, Liberec, Chomutov, Teplice, and Plžen.

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