Apr 15, 2024

First ComfortJet for Czech Railways Unveiled in Prague

Czech Railways (ČD), Siemens Mobility and Škoda Transportation unveiled the first fixed-formation ComfortJet push-pull train for cross-border services at Prague main station on April 9.

Siemens and Škoda are supplying 20 nine-car 230km/h ComfortJet trains to ČD under a €500m contract awarded in March 2021.

ČD also awarded Siemens a contract to supply 50 Vectron multi-voltage locomotives and agreed a 10-year full-service maintenance contract under which ČD maintenance staff will transfer to the manufacturer.

The new trains will be maintained at the ČD Prague South facility near Prague Vršovice station, where the construction of a new maintenance building for the ComfortJet fleet is under consideration by ČD.

The first ComfortJet unveiled in Prague was formed of eight coaches, rather than the standard formation of nine cars. The second class/bistro car and first class driving trailer were missing as deliveries of these coaches have yet to start.

The first ComfortJet is currently running under temporary approval granted by national rail safety regulator Drážní úřad. ČD and the manufacturers are hopeful that the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) will soon grant the Authorisation to Place on the Market (APOM) that is required for the new train to enter passenger service.

The area of use specified in the APOM applications for both the ComfortJet and 20 of the Vectrons ordered by ČD comprises the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Poland and Denmark.

If the APOM is granted in time, ČD will start test operations in domestic passenger service between Prague and Bohumín next month, with eight-car trains operating at up to 200km/h and powered by a Vectron locomotive at each end of the train.

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This might be followed in August by deployment of the ComfortJet on the Františkovy Lázně – Prague – Ostrava route, where the capacity of the class 680 tilting train fleet is currently insufficient to meet demand.

The eight-car ComfortJet is due to start operating between Prague and Berlin after this summer. Deployment further west is dependent on the completion of a major upgrade between Berlin and Hamburg that requires a lengthy line closure.

In December 2025 the ComfortJet in its full nine-car formation, hauled by a single Vectron at up to 230km/h, will be deployed on the Prague – Berlin – Hamburg – Copenhagen route.

It will also be introduced on the Prague – Bratislava – Budapest route and on Prague – Vienna – Graz Railjet services.

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