Press release, 30 September 2010
Centre for Efficient Transport (CEDOP) launched a new publication
named Suburban Transport – the Backbone of Public Transport in Agglomerations and, on the occasion, presented in detail a project of urban railway tunnel referred to as The New Connection 2.
The New Connection 2 is an implementation of drive-through model of suburban rail inspired by many Western metropolises such as Munich, Frankfurt, Zürich or Leipzig, not mentioning Paris. The current concept of suburban railway is based on a non-drive-through model, where certain lines end at Masaryk station while others end at the Main station.
The New Connection 2 will connect northeast- and southwest-bound railway lines under ground. That means collecting the Negrelli Viaduct line and the Karlin line into a four-track underground station at Wenceslas Square. This station will enable the transfer between all the main lines of suburban trains. Ascent to the ground level will lead to both upper part of the Wenceslas Sq. and the Main station’s lobby. One branch will continue to the reconstructed Smichov station via underground stations Karlovo náměstí and Anděl. The other branch, having underground stops at Albertov and Náměstí Bratří Synků will join the Benešov line in the area of Eden shopping centre.
The main advantage of a drive-through model, created by implementation of the New Connection 2, will be a quick and uncomplicated journey from Central Bohemian setllements directly to the centre of Prague, moreover with a possibility to descend from trains in more places than today. „For instance, the journey from Hostivice to the Wenceslas Sq. will take 25 minutes instead of today’s 40 minutes“, says Petr Šlegr of CEDOP. A journeyu from Říčany to Ruzyně International Airport will change from today’s 78 minutes and 3 transfers to 40 minutes by a direct train, adds Šlegr.
Benefits for Prague citizens
The New Connection 2 will quicken the transport within Prague, too. For instance, a journey from Podbaba to Albertov will be almost half shorter, 15 minutes instead of today’s 28. Outskirts of Prague will experience even greater speed increase. Petr Slegr adds: „Among the benefits there will be not only the speed, but also the comfort of public transportation thanks to less transfers. The Wenceslas Square station will offer transfers between all major legs, carrying out some of these transfers on the very same platform.“
Another effect of the New Connection 2 is the solution of capacity problems of Prague railway node especially in a congested line from Prague Main station to Prague Smichov. „Another benefit is separating the long-distance and suburban platforms at the Main station, in other words, separating the daily commuters from travellers with heavy luggage“, says Šlegr.
Project real and necessary
Even if the New Connection 2 project may seem large, it is no different in terms of difficulty from other infrastructural investments, both state- and city-funded.
„Regardless of today’s financial situation, the project must be furtherly developed, so that it can start to be built as soon as funding will become available,“ emphasizes Šlegr. The state as the owner of railway infrastructure has a great debt to its capital. All railway corridors except the New Connection 1 have been ending at the borders of Prague for years now. The fast trains are limited by having to share the same segment of route within Prague with slow commuter trains, the service of which cannot be more frequent, again, because of fast trains‘ slots.
„If we shut our eyes facing the necessity to increase capacity of Prague railway node including its central part, the investments to the rest of the corridors will be in vain. Munich has the central railway tunnel through the city since 1972, Prague is about 40 years late…“ concludes Petr Šlegr.
Facts about the New Connection 2
City railway tunnel for suburban and urban trains
Length: 12.7 km, out of which 10 km inside the tunnel
Number of new stations: 7, of which 6 under ground
- Václavské náměstí – transfer to long-distance transport, metro A, C (, D), tramways
- Karlovo náměstí – transfer to metro B station, tramways and buses
- Anděl – exits to Štefánikova street and to Zborovská street
- Prague Smichov – common station for suburban and long-distance transport, transfer to metro B, tramways and buses
- Albertov – transfer to tramways
- Náměstí bratří Synků – transfer to tramways, buses and a (planned) metro line D
- Florenc – transfer to metro B, C, tramways and buses