Germany, the Czech Republic and Austria want to expand the rail connections between their three countries. The main focus is on the expansion and new construction of sections on the corridor between Berlin, Dresden, Prague and Vienna. A joint declaration of intent has been prepared and will be signed later this year, announced the Federal Government's Railway Commissioner, Enak Ferlemann.
Negotiations on a state treaty for the planned new line between Dresden and Prague are also scheduled to begin this year, as Ferlemann replied to a request from the Greens. The new Dresden-Prague line is intended to shorten the travel time between Berlin and the Czech capital from more than four hours to two and a half hours. The first public contract, the joint project management, was put out to tender two weeks ago.
A new 43 km long high-speed line is planned between Heidenau in Saxony and Usti nad Labem in the Czech Republic. It should shorten the travel time between Dresden and Prague from two hours to one hour and relieve the Elbe valley. The new line should also include a tunnel that is at least 25 kilometers long. However, Deutsche Bahn does not expect the line to be completed before the end of the 2030s.
Greens expansion is too slow
The Greens' parliamentary group criticized the fact that the federal government was only very slow to expand cross-border railways. "You can almost get the impression that the federal government has overslept the opening of the border in the rail network, the federal government has not invested so much in cross-border routes since 1990," said transport politician Matthias Gastel.
Since 1990, only a medium double-digit million amount has been invested in rails heading for the Czech Republic, while the cross-border motorway has cost 1.1 billion euros. Meanwhile, air traffic between Germany and the Czech Republic tripled.
Train traffic also increased steadily. Last year, 20,000 freight trains traveled back and forth between Germany and the Czech Republic via Bad Schandau in Saxony, more than twice as many as in 2005. The number of passenger trains almost tripled during this period, reaching almost 7,000 a year. More trains also traveled to and from the Czech Republic via the Bavarian Schirnding.
From mid-June there will be a direct train connection on the route from Berlin via Prague to Vienna after a break of several years. A Railjet of the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) will travel early in the morning via Dresden and Prague to Vienna and Graz from June 15, according to the rail operator. A train in the opposite direction arrives in Berlin in the late evening.