The existing line between Dresden and Prague follows the River Elbe through the mountainous border region between the two countries and the sinuous nature of the route means journey times between the two cities are slow. The line is also vulnerable to flooding where it runs alongside the Elbe.
A new line could halve journey times and would create additional capacity for freight between northwest and southeast Europe.
Discussions have been underway for some time between the two countries and the German state of Saxony on improving infrastructure on this European corridor. The feasibility study will look at the viability of a new line between Heidenau near Dresden and Ústi nad Labem in the Czech Republic, which is likely to require extensive tunnelling due to the challenging terrain. A study is already underway on the Ústi nad Labem – Litomĕřice section.
The state of Saxony has asked Germany's Federal Transport Ministry to include the project in its 2015 railway plan.