THE government of the Czech Republic has approved a plan for the national rollout of ETCS and has set the goal of covering around 4800km of the 9500km network by 2030 at a cost of approximately Koruna 47bn ($US 2.19bn).

Rollout on the entire network is scheduled for 2040. The ETCS implementation plan was prepared by the Czech Ministry of Transport and the Czech national railway infrastructure manager SŽ. 

Mr Karel Havliček, Czech minister of transport and economic affairs, underlines that ETCS is integral to improving the level of safety on the Czech network following various recent accidents.

“The number of signals passed at danger (Spad) is increasing and we need to respond to that,” Havliček says. “That is why the government approved this plan today and that is why we are investing several billion Czech Koruna in building this safety system every year. Unlike other European countries, where ETCS serves mainly to ensure interoperability, the system in the Czech Republic will help mainly by increasing the level of safety. For example, ETCS should also prevent accidents such as those at Pernink last summer or at Milavči near Domažlice in August this year.”

The plan sets deadlines for implementation of ETCS per line and includes an estimation of the funding requirements. It also contains deadlines for railway operators and rolling stock owners to equip trains with ETCS onboard equipment. The Czech government has promised financial support for this element of the project.

Around 650km of the Czech network is already equipped with ETCS, while contracts worth Koruna 8bn have been let for more rollouts. Havliček points out that financing is in place for installation of onboard equipment on 475 locomotives and trains.

Czech Railways (ČD) and ČD Cargo are set to abandon ageing rolling stock due to the introduction of ETCS and have already started preparations to procure new rolling stock. SŽ is also working to replace 3kV dc overhead electrification with 25kV 50Hz ac by 2040.