(Dresden, 2 March 2020) The rail network is set to bring Germany and the Czech Republic even closer together. The two countries’ governments, the Free State of Saxony, Deutsche Bahn and the Czech rail infrastructure operator Správa železnic today reaffirmed their cooperation on a new cross-border rail link between Dresden and Prague. Ronald Pofalla, Member of the Management Board for Infrastructure at Deutsche Bahn; Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure; Michael Kretschmer, Minister-President of the Free State of Saxony; Luděk Sosna, Deputy Vice Minister for Strategy and International Cooperation in the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic; and Jiří Svoboda, Managing Director of Správa železnic, signed an agreement on the project in Dresden.
The journey time between Prague and Dresden will be cut from two hours and fifteen minutes today to just one hour. This will also speed up journeys between Berlin and Prague. In future, travel time between the two cities will be two and a half hours; today it is around four and a half hours.
Ronald Pofalla: “Today, we are together setting another example of how to strengthen railways in Europe. We have launched an ambitious project for the future. The fast connection will open up new opportunities for cooperation in business, science and culture and promote climate-friendly mobility.”
Enak Ferlemann: “Rail continues to weld Europe’s major cities and regions together. With this mega-project, the Brandenburg Gate, Frauenkirche and Charles Bridge will become near neighbours. From Berlin to Prague via Dresden in just two and a half hours – an unbeatable service for passenger and freight traffic. Together with Deutsche Bahn and our Czech colleagues, we are today laying the foundation stone for a new fast and borderless mobility in Europe.”
The rapid new rail link is essential for carrying more European passenger and freight traffic by rail. The core of the project is a new line between Heidenau in Saxony and Ústí nad Labem in the Czech Republic with a cross-border tunnel of at least 25 kilometres in length beneath the Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge).
A regional planning procedure is currently underway for the project in Saxony, in which seven route corridors, including three all-tunnel options, are being evaluated with regard to their impact on people and the environment. Members of the public, organisations and authorities can submit their comments until Friday 6 March 2020. The regional planning procedure is expected to be completed in the summer.
At the same time, the German-Czech project team are preparing the next steps for designing the line. In the coming weeks, they will invite tenders for the first contracts for planning work on the Erzgebirge Tunnel.