V4 want cross-border high-speed rail
Visegrád Group ministers met at Štrbské Pleso to discuss plans for creating high-speed rail line connecting the four countries of the CEE region: Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. The politicians signed a document expressing their wish to cooperate on this endeavour. It is a first step towards revolutionizing rail transport between the four states.
The planned train route is to link four European capitals: Warsaw, Budapest, Bratislava and Prague. Government officials want it to become an alternative to plane travel. High-speed rail is to enable moving between the four countries much faster than today. Currently, to get from Warsaw to Budapest, one needs to spend more than 12 hours on a train. If the project is completed, passengers will be able to get to the Hungarian capital within as little as 3 to 5 hours.
Poland’s Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk, Czechia’s Minister of Transport Dan Tiok, Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto and Slovakia’s Minister of Transport and Construction Arpad Ersek announced creation of a workgroup whose task will be to draft a feasibility study for the project and assess the potential cost of the endeavour. They will also face the challenge of coordinating work in the four neighbouring countries.
If the project is completed, trains will travel at the speed reaching 350 kilometres per hour. It is not yet clear how the rail link will be financed. The four minsters had a meeting with European Investment Bank representatives.
High-speed trains will be a part of a big investment plan that will affect rail transport across Poland. The government announced it will spend as much as 40 billion PLN on new tracks, trains and stations and refurbishing the existing ones. Investment in rail network plays a significant role in the creation of Central Communication Port, a large airport hub that is planned to be created in the heart of Poland.