CZECH REPUBLIC: National passenger operator CD published its 2010-14 rolling stock modernisation strategy on March 16, setting out plans to spend up to KC16bn rejuvenating one of the oldest fleets in the EU; at present just 6% of CD's 2 199 coaches are air-conditioned cars suitable for 160 km/h operation.

The first contracts will be placed this year, with domestic suppliers likely to receive most of the expected KC4·5bn order value.

The ambitious renewal programme was launched after CD signed 10-year passenger service contracts with the Ministry of Transport and all the Czech regions (RG 1.10 p46). It follows from KC8·5bn spent on rolling stock renewal in 2008-09 using funds mostly drawn from the sale of assets to infrastructure manager SZDC.

Funding for the 2010-14 plan will come from a range of sources, including CD's own resources, credits from EIB and Eurofima, leasing agreements, bonds and the Ministry of Transport. CD has already applied for KC450m from the EU's Cohesion Fund.