SŽDC railway infrastructure manager considers three different variants for new Prague to Beroun connection. The plans are also consulted with German Ministry of Transport. Construction has not a timeframe set yet.
SŽDC strategy department director Radek Čech presented new tunnel variants at a dedicated event today. SŽDC has not talked about timeframe of construction works yet.
The infrastructure manager refreshed the plans for Prague – Beroun tunnel last spring and requested an update for feasibility study. The European Commission rejected the original study. EC required an update of study as both passenger and freight traffic increased on current Prague to Beroun route. The tracks are also in bad condition now.
“The tunnel is almost the only solution for this route,” Čech said. The new territorial-technical study evaluated six different variants. Three has been selected for further evaluation. (Map in full resolution, PDF, 20 MB)
The C-variant is the most optimal variant from the three. The tunnel would be build right from the Praha-Smíchov station to Beroun. The B-variant proposes a tunnel bored from Prague suburbs Radotín and Černošice with the ending in Beroun. The D-variant evaluates multiple tunnel between Praha-Smíchov and Řevnice where it would join the current route. The last variant is the cheapest, but may face noise regulation issues as it leads mostly on surface. The most expensive variant is estimated to cost around 50 billion CZK (1,94 billion EUR). “The study shown that all three variants are feasible to build,” Čech said.
The tunnel would be constructed for speed up to 200 km/h. The mixed passenger and freight service is planned. It is possible to build tracks for up to 350 km/h from Beroun onwards to Plzeň (Pilsen) according to ŠZDC. Travel time would shorten by 15 min to Beroun and Prague to Pilsen journey would take less than one hour.
The passenger estimates are now evaluated according to Čech. A decision from Germany Ministry of Transport is key for the project and its economics. Berlin is expected to mark Furth im Wald – Regensburg route modernization as a priority. Once completed, more freight trains would travel from Czechia via the new tunnel and the return of investment would shorten. “We cannot justify any freight transit increase without that,” Čech adds.
SŽDC declines to set a timeframe. The pessimistic plans talk about opening between 2040 and 2050. “We have been preparing the tunnel under Krušné Hory (Ore Mountains) for ten years, it will be build next ten years. This is a comparable project. However we will have more experience that time,” Čech explains.
The infrastructure manager plans to massively overhaul the current Prague – Beroun route next year. It is in serious conditions now. However this works will not provide enough capacity for demanded number of trains. The traffic is also limited by noise limits as there are many towns right along the tracks.
Freight operators are the main supporters for the new route. “Děčín is the only border station for trains running West. This is untenable, especially when everybody talks about bringing freight from roads to rail,” ŽESNAD.cz CEO Oldřich Sládek said. (Note: Žesnad.cz is an association of freight operators) The current situation does not allow any grow of freight traffic.
Czech version is available at Zdopravy.cz