(Dis)connection of High Speed Rails Between Western and Central Europe - Sheer Coincidence, or Inevitable Consequence?



Year of publication 2019
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Transport Means 2019. Proceedings of the 23rd International Scientific Conference. Part I
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Keywords high speed rail; high speed line; Western Europe; Central Europe; post-socialist states; railway services; diversity of conditions; disconnections
Description High speed lines are considered to be a sustainable kind of public transportation. They are suitable for distances which are too long for sustainable car using, and too short for plane flights. In Western Europe, these policies have been common since the 1980s. In the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the situation is slightly different. The conventional railway networks were used mainly for freight transportation and kept in a state of stagnation. New connections or fundamental reconstructions were rare. These divergent policies are now playing an important role in fast railway network planning and operating. This paper focuses on a comparison of approaches in the planning and operating of fast railways in Central European states (e.g. Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland). There are significant differences not only among the non-socialist and post-socialist states but also among the post-socialist states themselves. Austria, which is the only non-post-socialist country of those mentioned is fully connected to the European fast railway network, mainly via Germany and Italy. The Czech Republic and Poland have designed national fast railway networks, which are primarily meant to service the largest cities and agglomerations within each country. The building of cross border connections is being considered, but they are only peripheral supplements of the networks. Hungary and Slovakia both decided to prefer fundamental reconstructions of selected spinal railways. The aim of this paper is to identify the key decisions and approaches in the planning of fast railways in each of those states. The paper also identifies the main points causing the disconnection of fast railways networks between Western and Central Europe.
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