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Negotiations on the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the TENT-T network took place on board the European train

Negotiations on the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the TENT-T network took place on board the European train
photo: Archives/Negotiations on the inclusion of the Czech Republic in the TENT-T network took place on board the European train
27 / 09 / 2021

Prague – On Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 10:14 a.m., the European train headed from Brno station to the capital so that the public could see it a little further away. During the journey from Brno to Prague, a preliminary meeting took place with representatives of the European Commission on the development of transport infrastructure.

The European Union has established 2021 as the European Year of Railways in order to present rail transport as a safe and sustainable mode of passenger and freight transport. It is an information campaign aimed primarily at young people associated with cultural events. As the key motto of this project, the EU introduced the slogans 'Hop on', 'We connect Europe', Rail connects Europe', Rail connects businesses'. The main point of the year of the railway is the dispatch of the Connecting Europe Express train, which started its journey symbolically in Lisbon, Portugal, as part of the outgoing Portuguese Presidency. It passed through Slovenia, which takes over the presidency for the second half of 2021, and will end its Europe-wide route in Paris.

Each Member State shall have its own national coordinator, who shall sponsor an accompanying program in his country. In the case of the Czech Republic, it became the Ministry of Transport with the support of the Správa železnic, České dráhy, and other partners. Cooperation between partners from the European rail sector made it possible to implement the project at Union, national and local levels.

The Czech Republic has extensive experience in organizing similar events. Traditionally, it organizes every year National Railway Day, thematic competitions, historical or promotional rides, or public transport days organized by regional coordinators.

The press conference was attended by Minister of Transport Karel Havlíček, The Minister of Economy, Transport and Labour Martin Dulig, and ACRI Director-General Marie Vopálenská. "Today's meeting was not only social, of course, we are happy to welcome this train, but we are currently ahead of the fundamental investment in the railway. In terms of investment, railways will become the most important sector of the Czech Republic for the next 20 to 30 years, not only because today we are giving record amounts on railways, it is in the order of CZK 50 billion, which is 30% more than two years ago, but we are looking at very high investments in railway security, it will be another CZK 100 billion,  which we must spend by 2030 and we will have gigantic investments within high-speed lines. And that's what today's discussion was about. You all know that high-speed lines are not only a matter of domestic budgets, but that we have a chance to draw on European resources. We discussed today, and especially my colleagues at the level of the Vice-Presidents and Directors, all the options that are during the whole journey, and at the same time we also opened it about two or three days ago as part of a meeting of all the actors in Slovenia. The situation is that we are starting to build high-speed lines in 2025, we have the first sections waiting for us, and this is a section in the direction of the Polabí of Prague, then we will have the southern section from Brno and then the Moravian Gate from Brno towards Ostrava. The important news is that the line or section between Prague and Dresden, which we expect to start construction in 2027, is a high priority. Already at the moment, teams are ready and working both on the Czech side and on the German side, which is preparing the project and at the moment we are obviously also dealing with the method of financing. We have briefly talked about regional lines, it has been made clear, both at the European level and from the German level, that these lines are also a priority, and I am quite openly saying here that I am ready to fight for every regional line that is here and we want to keep these lines because none of the politicians have the right to disturb them at the moment,  we did not build them, these lines are here for a long time and it is our duty to maintain them, our duty is to modernize them, to create an ecological regime from them, one that will simply be comfortable for everyone, not to significantly reduce them." said Minister Havlíček at the press conference.

Due to the different track gauges in Europe, “the Connecting Europe Express” train consists of a total of three trains – the Iberian train, the standard train, and the Baltic train, which only proves the lack of interoperability between some parts of the European rail network. RailTarget magazine, together with the report, also presents a series of several interviews in which Miroslav Haltuf, an independent expert in the areas of international activities and projects aimed at managing the operation of railway companies, talks about the lack of interoperability. The individual wagons were provided by a number of European railway companies. The wagon from MAV (Hungary) hosted a mobile exhibition organized by the European Executive Agency for Climate, Infrastructure, and Environment (CINEA) and the Shift2Rail joint venture. The standard train consists of a conference wagon (French company SNCF), two standard wagons with seats (DB, Germany, and SBB, Switzerland), a dining car (FS, Italy), and a sleeper wagon (ÖBB, Austria).

The Iberian train, which passes between Portugal and Spain, was provided by the Spanish carrier Renfe and the Baltic train is operated by Lithuanian company LTG.