Fiala and Soder on Monday. Credit:

High-Speed Rail Connections From Prague to Bavaria By 2030

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The Czech Republic plans to significantly speed up railway transport from Prague to Plzen to the border with Germany by 2030, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists during a visit to Bavaria on Monday.

The modernisation of this rail corridor, which continues onwards to Nuremberg and Munich, will start next year, said Fiala (ODS), following talks with Bavarian Minister-President Markus Soder and representatives of the border regions.

The Bavarian representatives said that they would like to obtain funds from the federal government for a high-quality double-track cross-border connection between the East and the West.

“We are already taking concrete steps,” said Fiala. “On the Czech side, the modernisation of the Plzen-Domazlice line will start next year, with the gradual electrification of the line, and we want to increase the speed on this important transport artery to 200 kilometres per hour by 2030.” 

Soder and other Bavarian officials praised the fast preparations on the Czech side and said they would urge the federal government to earmark money for the German section to Schwandorf, Nuremberg and Munich for a high-quality electrified and double-track cross-border East-West link, rather than focusing only on the north-south railway line that continues to Italy.

Representatives of the Bavarian regional assembly noted that the journey from Prague to Munich took more than eight hours, not much of an improvement on the 13 hours it had taken in 1890. A change is urgently needed, they stressed.

The Bavarian politicians also said the Prague-Munich railway was a barrier between the two countries.

According to Fiala, Monday’s meeting pushed forward three important areas of mutual cooperation between the Czech Republic and Bavaria. “We have signed documents that support a joint strategy in the field of tourism (joint marketing) and we can better exploit the potential and the immense beauty and sights of both our regions,” he said.

He said they had also signed an agreement that would improve cooperation between firefighters and allow faster and more efficient cross-border assistance during disasters such as major fires and floods.

“We have signed an agreement that develops cooperation in the field of health care, i.e. the (Czech) application ‘Zachranka’ (Ambulance) with ‘Notruf Bayern’,” Fiala said. Emergency services on both sides of the border will be able to intervene on request in any border area of the other.

“These things concretely help the citizens of both our regions and improve their living conditions, and make the border regions more attractive for young people, not to be leaving them, but rather to be returning to them,” he said. He said strengthening transport infrastructure was another important task.

The participants described Monday’s meeting, convened by the advisory committee for cross-border cooperation, as the most important event in Czech-Bavarian relations.

“The way we develop them is not only important for the Czech Republic and Bavaria or Germany, but it is absolutely crucial for Europe. That is why we will continue to do so,” Fiala said.

Bavaria wants to push for Czech to be an optional subject in schools, and plans to establish three bilingual schools, Soder said.

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