Prague will start negotiating to buy land for the planned railway to Václav Havel Airport

The planned Dlouhá Míle rail station will have parking lots, a regional bus hub, and a tram stop.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 16.02.2021 11:32 (updated on 16.02.2021)

Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and the general director of the Railway Administration (SŽ), Jiří Svoboda, last week signed a memorandum on preparing the construction of the railway link from the Veleslavín metro stop to Václav Havel Airport Prague.

As part of the agreement, the city will buy the land needed for the construction of the station and the Park and Ride (P+R) lot at the planned Dlouhá Míle rail station. Prague will then use part of the land to build a new tram line.

The Dlouhá Míle station is on the spur line between Nádraží Veleslavín and the airport. Aside from parking lot, the new station will offer connections to regional buses. The airport spur line will turn north from the main rail track to Kladno between the Hostovice and Praha-Ruzyně stops. Dlouhá Míle is the only stop on the spur line aside from the terminal at Václav Havel Airport.

“Our goal is to speed up the preparation of the years-planned construction of a capacity railway line to Václav Havel Airport and Kladno as much as possible. That is why I welcome this cooperation agreement with the Railway Administration,” Hřib said.

“We are thus taking another step toward a modern, fast and ecological connection, which will also help significantly alleviate congested car traffic in the city,” he added.

Now that city has signed the memorandum, it will start negotiations for acquiring land in the area of the future transport terminal and the Dlouhá Míle parking lot in Prague 6, which will be part of the railway line project.

“Several important transport constructions are planned in the vicinity. While the Railway Administration will be the investor of the railway line, including the terminal and the P+R car lot for approximately 1,050 cars, Prague will build another 950 parking spaces here at its own expense. In addition, the capital plans to run the tram line from Dědinská to Terminal 3 here,” Prague Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr, responsible for transport, said.

“Passengers do not distinguish between what is an investment from the state and what is from the city. The common goal of Prague and the Railway Administration is to build a modern terminal here, where it will be possible to use the railway connection between the airport and the center, park a car, or change to an extended tram line from Evropská Street and Dědina. It is good that, as Prague, we have signed up to help the Railway Administration with the purchase of land for their and our purposes,” Scheinherr said.

Visualization of the Dlouhá Míle station. (Source: Railway Administration)
Visualization of the Dlouhá Míle station. (Source: Railway Administration)

SŽ’s Svoboda said the modernization of the Prague–Kladno line with a spur to Václav Havel Airport is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the Czech Republic that the Railway Administration is preparing.

“Its implementation will place the capital and Kladno among modern European agglomerations with railway connections to the airport. For further acceleration of the preparation and successful implementation, we welcome closer cooperation with the city of Prague in the Dlouhá Míle vicinity,” he added.

The land for all intended projects in the Dlouhá Míle area is still owned by private owners. In addition, the Railway Administration, as an investor in the project of modernization and new construction of the railway line, cannot purchase land until a zoning decision is issued. On the basis of a signed memorandum, Prague will start with individual purchases in advance and then transfer part of the land to the Railway Administration for a fee.

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This step will not only speed up the construction of the transport terminal and P+R lot in Dlouhá Míle, but will also facilitate the preparation of the remaining investment projects, which will be under the direction of the city. Last but not least, thanks to land ownership, Prague will be able to influence the development of other buildings in this area, City Hall said ina press release.

The capital will buy the land on the basis of already completed expert opinions. Their timeliness will be specified, if necessary, after the start of negotiations with the owners.

Purchasing the land, though, can be a cause of difficulty. Reluctant land owners along the route of the Metro D line, currently under construction, caused delays and even changes to the project. The Czech Republic, unlike some other countries such as the United States, does not have a policy of eminent domain that forces land owners to sell their land to facilitate infrastructure projects.

Currently, travelers going to the airport by public transit have to switch to a bus at the Nádraží Veleslavín stop on the Metro A line. Before the city and the Railway Administration agreed on the idea of a new rail link the airport, one of the alternatives considered was extending the metro line there.

This was determined to be less than ideal, as the metro line after the Nádraží Veleslavín stop turns south, away from the airport. Construction for the metro route would have taken longer and the commute time would also have been longer.