High-speed rail line connecting Czechia with other EU capitals a 'priority'

EU transport ministers meet today in Prague to discuss boosting the trans-European rail network system.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.10.2022 13:09:00 (updated on 21.10.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

High-speed rail lines that connect Prague and Brno with the capitals of Germany, Austria, and Poland are a “priority” for Czechia, Minister of Transport Martin Kupka said before an informal meeting of EU transport ministers today in Prague, ČTK reports.

Kupka said that Europe’s current cross-border transport system, named the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), does not have enough rail lines connecting countries with one another. 

Today’s informal meeting between EU transport ministers in Prague will see leaders discuss ways to increase the efficiency of the European rail system. The Czech transport minister's plans are to establish new, cross-border lines that will connect Czechia directly with Berlin, Vienna, and Warsaw.

Improvements to the Czechia-Poland rail connection are also on the meeting agenda. Polish Minister of Infrastructure, Andrzej Adamczyk, says that Poland hopes to build a fast service between Ostrava and Katowice, a city in southern Poland. The Polish politician also wants to complete a road highway connecting Poland with the Czech city of Hradec Králové.

Hungarian State Secretary for Transport Dávid Vitézy notes that a high-speed line connecting Budapest, Bratislava, Prague and Berlin is a “Central European transport priority.” He noted that "the high-speed rail connection in Central and Eastern Europe is an important missing link in the European backbone network [TEN-T]."

According to Kupka, investment for a project of this sort will require collective contributions from Czechia and other EU member states.

Director-General of the European Commission (EC) for Mobility and Transport, Henrik Hololei, has confirmed that there is enough money to finance the high-speed European network. The main source of investment will be the Connecting Europe Facility program, which spends 75 percent of its funds on railways, including high-speed projects.

A different – yet pressing – subject of today's transport meeting will be methods to reduce the energy costs of train travel amid ever-increasing prices. Kupka states that these can include the use of more economical train units, different types of light resources in carriages, or a change in the functionality of in-train heating.

According to Eurostat, energy inflation in the eurozone rose by a huge 40.7 percent year on year in September, as reported in Euronews

Ministers will also share plans to make rail transport more attractive for consumers, such as increasing comfort on trains and offering a single, pan-European ticket for rail travel.

The national rail operator of Czechia, České dráhy, recently announced plans to increase prices by an average of 15 percent. Discussions of future European rail-fare prices have so far not been concrete.

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