Reconstruction of Plzeň-Koterov Railway Corridor Completed, Modernization Continues

Ivan Blažek

The reconstruction of the railway corridor between Plzeň central station and Koterov on the city’s outskirts has been completed, costing over two billion. The modernization of the main track towards České Budějovice is expected to continue, although the timelines are still unclear.

The four-kilometer section of the Plzeň route underwent almost three years of modifications, starting in November 2020. The result is a double-track railway, allowing trains to reach speeds of 120 kilometers per hour, compared to the previous 100 kilometers per hour. The project also includes a new station in the heart of the Slovany district, with a footbridge over the tracks and the closure of the small station in Koterov.

“The track is now more capacity-efficient, and the Slovany stop has replaced Koterov, where the station was inconveniently located,” said Jiří Svoboda, the CEO of the Railway Administration. Koterov is on the outskirts, while the new platforms are close to the Slovany town hall and public transportation lines.

Two underground concrete structures are hidden beneath the railway track, which are preparations for a future road tunnel that will be part of the planned eastern ring road. “We expect to obtain territorial approval for the tunnel at the beginning of 2024,” said Miroslav Blabol, the director of the Plzeň branch of the Road and Motorway Directorate.

The actual construction of the tunnel will start much later, with an estimated completion date of 2034. “There will be very demanding land acquisitions,” explained Blabol. The tunnel construction was prioritized to avoid future disruptions to the railway track.

The total cost of the corridor amounts to 2.2 billion, with the Road and Motorway Directorate contributing 870 million and the city providing 50 million. The majority of the expenses, 1.2 billion, were covered by EU grants. “The final price increased only marginally compared to the winning bid,” added Svoboda.

Another visible change is the new platform and footbridge at the Slovany stop, enhancing accessibility over the double-track railway.

The modernization of the mentioned corridor further south, towards Nepomuk and Horažďovice-suburb station, was planned to begin in the autumn of 2023. The project would involve adding a second track over a 31-kilometer stretch, increasing the speed limit from 80 to 160 kilometers per hour. The estimated cost at the time was ten billion.

However, the construction has not started yet. “It is currently difficult to discuss any specific timeline,” stated Svoboda. “We are still in the preparation phase.” He emphasized that the modernization of the track from Plzeň to Domažlice and the state border with Germany is gaining more significance.

This modernization is also a priority for the Plzeň Region. “The electrification of the track to Domažlice is crucial,” confirmed Pavel Čížek, the Deputy Governor. “The relocation of the Koterov stop was already a significant improvement for us on the railway from Plzeň to České Budějovice,” concluded Čížek.