Taking a train or metro to Prague Airport? While Praguers would prefer a metro to missing city center connections, cross-country surveys usually choose a train. However, according to the newly completed Feasibility Study Updates, this long-standing dispute has lost its meaning. Trains from Prague Airport will also travel a larger part of the route underground and passengers will not see daylight even when skipping to the metro.
A faster train with a direct transfer will shorten the journey from the city to the airport by about ten minutes. Less than twelve minutes and one change, for example, will be saved by the out-Praguers, who transfer to the main station and continue home by train.
It can’t get any faster
“For an average-fit passenger, for example, it takes exactly 280 seconds to get from Dejvice to Hradčanská metro station. That is, a little less than five minutes,” said Kamil Bednařík of Metroprojekt, who is in charge of planning the preparation of the railway connection from Prague to Václav Havel Airport and further to Kladno.
The project has the entire route from train to subway divided into seconds. For example, an escalator trip from the station to the subway vestibule will take 50 seconds and a second escalator from the vestibule to the platform a minute and a half. “But if a lift is used instead of an escalator to travel between the two platforms, the transfer time will be reduced by half a minute,” added Bednařík. The transfer to line C will be similar. The journey from Bubny railway station to Vltavská metro station will also take less than five minutes.
The subway and train sets cannot get any closer to each other. In fact, the subway runs significantly more deeply than the planned underground track. “The creation of a common subway and train platform, where passengers would simply transfer from train to subway station via transit, would be technically impractical and is prevented by safety and other regulations,” said Bednarik. In addition, track works would mean over a year-long lockout of the metro to Motol, which is not feasible under the conditions of Prague traffic.
In ten years at the earliest
The direction towards Kladno is the last Prague suburban line that has avoided electrification so far. The potential number of passengers surpasses any other suburban line. The airport will bring 20,000 passengers to form the expected 50,000 passengers a day. The same number is for people from agglomerations near the Kladno line and about 10,000 others who will park their car at one of the car parks and continue to the capital by train.
The closest construction sites are outside Prague and part of the line connecting Bubny and the Exhibition Center. The work could start within two to three years according to the current schedule.
For the more difficult sections from the Exhibition Center to the airport, the planning permit documentation is being prepared and it is not to be expected that construction will start sooner than 2024. The completed connection to the airport should be finished within ten years.
According to the designer, the case of the missing escalator, which had to be replaced by temporary workers assisting passengers with suitcases up the stairs, will not be repeated.
While the technical parameters of underground train stations exist, the architectural competition will decide its aesthetic form. At present, the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) is about to select a design for the Veleslavín stop. In addition, the winner of the competition will also affect the appearance of other stations. “We want to use the unifying elements of this proposal for all stations on the line from Prague to Kladno,” SŽDC spokeswoman Radka Pistoriusová told MF DNES. SŽDC wants to narrow down the number of applicants to the selected finalists in the upcoming days.