CZECH REPUBLIC: Infrastructure manager SŽDC plans to launch a comprehensive national station modernisation programme which will see KC8·2bn spent at an initial 60 locations over three years, once it takes over ownership of almost all of the country’s stations from national operator ČD.
The long-planned transfer of the stations from the operator to the infrastructure manager was approved by the government on December 21 2015 and ČD’s supervisory board on April 7. The steering committee with ultimate oversight of ČD gave its final approval on May 25, and the deal is expected to be completed by August 1.
SŽDC will take on 1 574 station buildings and related premises, along with around 400 staff. The Ministry of Transport will pay KC3·24bn to ČD, less than the KC8bn which had been planned before the European Commission decided in June 2015 that this would constitute an illegal state subsidy to the operator. ČD will use the funds primarily to reduce its debt.
SŽDC has access to wider sources of funding for modernisation than the train operator, including EU programmes. This year it plans to spend up to KC0·5bn on minor repairs and improvements which do not require building permits, and aims to make better use of space and provide a better environment for passengers and staff as well as attracting small businesses to rent outlets on stations.
Among the stations excluded from the transfer is Praha Masarykovo, pending the resolution of land ownership issues, and Brno Hlavní, where there is a long-term ambitious plan for relocation to a new site.