ELECTRIC services began running between Ceske Budejovice and the Austrian border at Horni Dvoriste in southern Bohemia on June 10, following the inauguration of the 25 kV 50Hz wiring three days earlier (below). Part of Czech Railways’ north-south Corridor 4 linking the German and Austrian borders (RG 6.95 p377), the 59 km single-track line has been upgraded over the past three years at a total cost of KC2·8bn.

Horni Dvoriste station has been rebuilt with a KC51m Phare grant from the EU, and capacity of the route increased from 37 to 56 trains/day. From next year the diesel locos used on the 7 km cross-border section between Horni Dvoriste and Summerau in Austria will be replaced by three Class 340 dual- voltage locomotives, currently being converted from Class 240 for 25 kV 50Hz and 15 kV 162/3Hz operation.

In the longer term CD plans to order Class 355 tri-voltage (25 kV 50Hz /15 kV 162/3Hz/3 kV DC) and Class 319 dual-voltage locos from Skoda to operate the entire 295 km Praha - Ceske Budejovice - Linz corridor.