Monday, February 19, 2018

České dráhy

České dráhy, Czech Railways, was established in 1993 when Czech Republic became an independent country.  It is the successor of Czechoslovak State Railways.  ČD is the country's primary railway operator for both regional and long-distance travel.  It is among Europe's top five largest railway cargo operators.

Until 2008 it was the biggest employer in Czechia.  Today it is the country's 5th largest employer.

ČD operates lots of different types of trains.

Osobní vlak (Os) are passenger trains.  These are Czech local trains that stop at every station along the way.  These are slow trains that take forever to get from point A to point B because they do stop at every possible along the way.

Spěšný vlak (Sp) are local trains but they are a bit faster because they only stop at selected stations.

Rychlík (R) are "fast" trains.  Well, faster than Os and Sp trains.  But still slow and they normally have old carriages.

Rychlík vyšší kvality (Rx) are high-speed trains.  They are faster than the R trains and they normally have new carriages.

Express (Ex) trains are fast trains that link different regions in Czechland.  They are usually faster and more comfortable than the R trains.

Supercity (SC) trains are high-speed trans that run between Ostrava-Olomouc-Pardubice-Prague.

Eurocity (EC) are international trains that travel through at least two countries.  EC trains must meet 20 mandatory criteria for comfort, speed, cleanliness and food service.  All train cars must be air-conditioned, only stop at major cities and stops last no more than five minutes.  All of the conductors must speak at least two languages and one of the two must be either English, French or German.

Euronight (EN) are EC trains with sleeper cars.

Intercity (IC) trains are pretty much the same as EC trains but only travel within the country.  IC and EC trains usually run every hour or every other hour.

Railjet (RJ) trains are high-speed trains run by ČD and ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) between Czechia and Austria.  The route is Prague-Brno-Vienna-Graz.  Railjet trains travel up to 230 km/h (143 mph).

ÖBB also operates Railjet from Austria to Germany, Hungary, Switzerland and Italy.

For ČD, you can purchase a 3-year In Karta card with a 25% discount on tickets for 990 Kč.  A 3-year In Karta card with a 50% costs 8,490 Kč.

Student Agency runs trains as well.  They run RegioJet (RJ); not to be confused with Railjet, which is pretty much an EC train that runs in Czechia and Slovakia.  I'm looking forward to trying RegioJet as they have just started regular service between Brno and Vienna.

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