Czech High Speed Rail

The Czech Railway Authority (Správa železnic) has been instructed by parliament to develop plans and feasibility studies for a high speed railway.

Several routes are envisioned.

Praha – Brno – Ostrava and Brno – Břeclav (RS 1, 2)

Praha – Ústí nad Labem – Dresden (RS 4)

Praha – Hradec Králové/Pardubice – Wrocław (RS5)

Whilst the idea seems at first glance noble and well-intentioned, it is beset with problems.

This blog will examine these problems.

The most fundamental of which is the low and static population of the Czech Republic, which renders the project unlikely to be viable from the outset.

High Speed rail requires a large volume of passengers from densely populated areas.

The Czech Republic doesn’t have these. So we started investigating some of the claims, and it became clear that the VRT project is beset with optimism bias, and exaggeration.

We wondered why – and we found out that this is very common during the planning stages of mega-projects. Viability is inflated, risk inadequately recognized, collateral damage ignored.

Rail projects seem to suffer the most.

There are many academic studies that illustrate this. They typically use before and after scenarios: they see what the cost against the benefit was projected to be, and then compare that to what actually happened.

We have provided citations in most of our articles. We also give a list of academic material to aid the reader. 

We have tried to be dispassionate but brutally honest, to stop our politicians from sleepwalking into a nightmare.