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D1 Express Prague – Brno instead of a congested motorway

Travelling between the country’s two largest cities on its oldest motorway has a railway alternative...

Moreover, from 4 October, ČD will offer a connection called D1 Express which will provide a fast and comfortable non-stop connection between Prague and Brno. Each day, two pairs of trains operated at a commercial risk will be composed of modernised air-conditioned carriages.

202Who hasn’t seen the television reports of traffic congestion, accidents and restrictions on the “D1”? The oldest motorway in the Czech Republic, which was opened in the Prague – Brno segment only in 1980, has become the subject of jokes and epithets over the years. The fact is, however, that it is in a (stated diplomatically) very poor state of repair, and it is awaiting a fundamental upgrade which will also be accompanied by radical and stressful restrictions for drivers. According to the original timetable, construction works should be launched at the end of this year, but the Highway and Motorway Directorate ultimately elected to move the launch to 2013. ČD is not waiting for the motorway collapse to occur, however, and will offer passengers supplemental connections under the name D1 Express starting in October.

The new connections between Prague and Brno will reflect the wishes of our customers. A survey of passengers shows that people would consider using the supplemental trains if the travel time by car were to exceed three hours. This could easily become the norm thanks to construction on the motorway and multi-kilometre bumper-to-bumper traffic. ČD is thus accommodating the requirements of passengers and introducing a direct non-stop connection between Prague and Brno at the needed times during commute hours on workdays.

From December they’ll be the fastest

What does the D1 Express actually look like, and what all does it offer passengers? The five-carriage train is comprised of one 1st class open carriage (Apee), one bistro carriage with other 1st class compartments (Armpee) and three 2nd class carriages where passengers can find both an open carriage arrangement as well as compartments. Two class 380 locomotives were selected to pull the two pairs of trains. The entire train unit, including the locomotive, is branded with a large D1 Express product logo which clearly distinguishes it from other connections.

Based on the wishes of passengers, departures from Brno Main Station (Brno hl.n.) have been scheduled for 6:15 and 7:15 in the morning. During the journey, the trains do not stop at any stations or stops – not even in Česká Třebová or Pardubice hl.n. The connections cover the distance to Prague in 2 hours and 42 minutes. For the return journey to Brno, D1 Expresses depart at 17:03 and 18:03 in the evening; the travel time is the same in both directions. Despite the fact that the parameters of the vehicles deployed make it possible to travel at a speed of 160 km/h, in view of the current burden on transport infrastructure, their travel time presently does not exceed that of EC connections on the same route despite travelling non-stop. From December 2012, however, the travel time for D1 Expresses will be reduced to 2 hours and 35 minutes, and thus the new connections will become the fastest on this route. Moreover, from 9 December, a third pair of trains will be added with a morning departure from Prague and an afternoon departure from Brno.

We don’t collect a supplement or require a reservation

Passengers will have high-quality catering services at their disposal in the bistro carriage as well as in the form of a minibar. Customers in 1st carriage class are entitled to a newspaper and a beverage free of charge. All carriages will be fully air conditioned and equipped with 230 V electrical outlets, a closed-system WC, on-board loudspeakers and an electronic external and internal reservation system. The last carriage with quiet compartments is reserved for passengers who want to relax undisturbed if possible.

And the best comes last: passengers will not pay even a crown more for the quality of the D1 Express, because on it the regular ČD tariff will apply – including special offers! And in contrast to the original plans, the D1 Express will not even have required reservations, so it can also be used by those who choose to take it between Prague and Brno at the last minute. Reservations are still available, of course. If you too become unpleasantly hot at the thought of endlessly slow bumper-to-bumper traffic on the D1 motorway, and are looking for a fast, affordable and comfortable alternative for travel between Prague and Brno, then search no further. ČD’s D1 Express is about to depart.

VÁCLAV RUBEŠ

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