A feasibility study will decide which type of trains will operate underground.
The rail infrastructure manager Sprava zeleznic and partner companies outlined the future shape of the railway hub in Prague. The feasibility study authors see the only possible solution in the center of Prague as moving part of the passenger traffic to underground rail capacities.
There are three options, labeled R, D and V; these differ in the type of trains that will run underground. Option R expects urban and suburban lines to operate underground, while options D and V would involve building tunnels for conventional long-distance and high-speed trains respectively. Option R, which has been pushed by the city, has been the main topic of discussion for many years. In contrast, high-speed trains underground have long been advocated by the Chamber of Commerce.
The fact that it is the easiest to implement in terms of direction and height speaks in favor of option R. High-speed trains would require slimmer switches or longer platforms which would make the underground infrastructure more expensive. With option R in place, high-speed trains would run above ground.
Option R offers a number of sub-options in terms of track location. The base should be a cross of two large tunnel structures; their alignment and connection methods are not yet clear. A central underground station could be built in the area of the main station or directly underneath, with its final location not yet known. Other stations would be built to connect urban and suburban rail transport with the metro.
The study, prepared by a consortium of Mott MacDonald CZ, Afry, Ekola, Sagasta and SMA, is due to release final designs at the end of next year.
Edited and translated by Lucie Trávníčková.