Future development of the Prague – České Budějovice – Linz
On Wednesday 3rd September, a joint meeting of the representatives of ÖBB Infrastruktur and the Strategy Section of the Czech Railway Infrastructure Administration took place in České Budějovice with future development of the Prague – České Budějovice – Linz long-distance route as the main item on the agenda.
The current quantity and type of direct trains between Prague and the Upper Austrian capital Linz with a journey time of almost 5 hours is unsustainable and uncompetitive for both sides from a long-term point of view. The journey time in the Prague – Tábor – České Budějovice line section has been extended by approx. 30 minutes for several years due to the gradual construction of the Czech Rail Transit Corridor IV and the train has the character of a regional route with a many stops in the Summerau – Linz line section which also significantly extends the journey time. The Austrian side’s precondition for the reintroduction and further development of long-distance transport on this route was the achievement of a journey time under 4 hours.
After the completion of the majority of constructions on Rail Transit Corridor IV (with the exception of the problematic Nemanice – Ševětín section) which is expected to occur in 2018 – 2019, the Czech side will be able to guarantee a journey time in the Prague – České Budějovice section of the line of approx..105 minutes. It will then be possible to achieve a journey time of 56 minutes in the České Budějovice – Summerau section of the line while stopping only at Rybník Station. Based on this information, the Austrian side pledged to guarantee a journey time of approx. 60 minutes in the Summerau – Linz line section with a significant reduction in the number of stops. According to ÖBB representatives, no further reduction of the journey time is possible at present due to the reconstruction of the line postponed so far (only the construction of a second track is expected in the Linz – St. Georgen section). From 2019, it will be possible to achieve a journey time of approx. 3:45 hours for the Prague – Linz route, which is more than one hour less compared to the current situation. 4 - 5 pairs of trains could be newly introduced to the Prague – Linz route whereby passengers could then change to trains heading in direction to Salzburg, Innsbruck and on to Switzerland or Italy. This will also lead to the adequate use of the investment in Czech Rail Transit Corridor IV and to a fulfilment of the European significance of the stated line.
The agreement of both participating parties will be confirmed by the signing of a Czech-Austrian memorandum on the level of the Ministers of Transport of the Czech Republic and Austria, in which both countries will pledge themselves not only to develop the currently highly monitored Prague – Vienna – Graz route, but also the Prague – České Budějovice – Linz route. A positive conclusion of the meeting between ÖBB Infrastruktur and the RIA was a precondition for the express declaration of a joint interest in the development of the Prague – Linz line in the memorandum.