Czech Railways to add more trains with WiFi and onboard entertainment

Trains are starting to catch up with planes for offering conveniences to make the trip more pleasant and productive.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 19.11.2021 15:00:00 (updated on 19.11.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Rail travel has been growing in popularity in Europe as people turn to trains as a more sustainable mode of travel. But train travel can lack some of the perks of a flight. That is set to change as railway customers demand more modern conveniences on board.

Czech Railways (ČD) says it plans to meet some of those demands by increasing the number of trains with WiFi and onboard entertainment systems with movies, promising to increase its onboard WiFI network by 1,015 trains. In trains with some connections, the number of carriages with WiFi will expand. In the 2022 timetable, the railway will also have 73 trains with onboard entertainment and information portals.

“In marketing surveys, WiFI is one of the most frequently requested additional services for our passengers. It is requested by passengers on more and more trains. That is why we are constantly expanding the availability of WiFi,” ČD board chairman and CEO Ivan Bednárik said in a press release.

“At the beginning of the timetable, we will offer it in 2,248 connections per day. We will continue to introduce WiFI in hundreds of other connections during 2022,” Bednárik added.

At the beginning of the 2022 timetable, there will be an onboard WiFI network in 90 percent of long-distance trains and one-third of all ČD daily connections throughout the country. Hundreds of other connections will offer WiFi, but they will not be directly marked in the timetables due to the circulation of various train carriages. In this case, passengers will find out about the WiFi offer directly in the cars marked with the WiFi pictogram.

Jiří Ješeta, ČD’s deputy general manager for passenger transport, pointed out some of the lines that would be affected.

“WiFi will be extended, for example, to the 'Vltava' and 'Lužnice' express trains from Prague to České Budějovice and České Velenice, where we have not yet offered this service. We will also offer more carriages with this service in the express 'Vysočina' train from Prague via Havlíčkův Brod to Brno and the 'Bouzov' express from Brno to Olomouc and Šumperk,” he said.

CityElefant train. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, Petr Štefek, CC BY 3.0)
CityElefant train. (Photo: Wikimedia commons, Petr Štefek, CC BY 3.0)

WiFi is being added to all CityElefant carriages this year. “Thanks to this, we will offer WiFi in trains running in the Prague Integrated Transport (PID) and the Moravia-Silesia Integrated Transport System (ODIS), and partly in the Ústí nad Labem and Pardubice regions. In accordance with the requirements of regional transport customers, we are expanding the onboard WiFI network on other lines and to other vehicles,” he added.


The Italian-made Pendolino trains operating in the Czech Republic only reach a top speed of 237 km/h using existing tracks. (photo: Wikimedia Commons / Stanislav Dusík)
Pendolino trains will get entertainment systems. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Stanislav Dusík)

The expansion onboard WiFi will continue to take place in 2022 on current and newly delivered trains for the RegioPanter lines in the Plzeň and South Bohemian regions. Czech Railways is planning the installation of WiFi technology in dozens of carriages for regional transport, and in express cars that now serve the Prague–Děčín line. 

In the 2022 timetable, the number of trains equipped with an onboard entertainment and information portal will also be expanded to a total of 73 connections on InterPanter, Pendolino, Railjet, and InterJet lines. 

The onboard portal offers downloadable games, e-books, movies, and other entertainment, as well as train information. In addition to the lines Prague–Ostrava and Prague–Brno– Břeclav, the on-board portal will also be available on the lines Prague–Plzeň–Cheb and Prague–Ústí nad Labem–Karlovy Vary–Cheb.

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