Focusing on alternative propulsion: Czech “Big Diesel” network diesel no more?
The competition should be announced next year, with the winner taking over operations no earlier than December 2027.
A network of seven fast train lines currently operated by diesel trains could be taken over by trains with alternative propulsion, i.e. battery or hydrogen, before the end of the decade. The Ministry of Transport is currently running a competition for the network, called Big Diesel, and is considering dropping diesels.
The competition should be announced next year, with the winner taking over operations no earlier than December 2027. “It is very likely there will be an even stronger push for either hydrogen trains or rechargeable trains with the possibility of partial recharging at stations,” said Minister of Transport Martin Kupka.
The operating network can be tendered as a whole or in parts. The contract is expected to last fifteen years; the new trains should have a lifetime of up to 30 years. Infrastructure will be key in how quickly the rail infrastructure manager will be able to provide charging stations.
In May, Alstom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen train was presented on Czech railroads. The newly developed Mireo Plus H hydrogen train was also presented by Siemens and Deutsche Bahn in Krefeld, Germany at the beginning of May.
Independent traction fast lines operating network (Big Diesel)
R14 Pardubice – Liberec – Usti nad Labem (operated by Arriva)
R21 Prague – Turnov – Tanvald (Arriva)
R22 Kolín – Ceska Lipa – Novy Bor (Arriva)
R24 Prague – Rakovnik (Arriva)
R25 Plzen – Zatec – Chomutov – Most (GW Train)
R26 Prague – Pribram – Pisek – Ceske Budjovice (Arriva)
R27 Ostrava – Opava – Krnov – Olomouc (Ceske drahy)
Edited and translated by Lucie Trávníčková.