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Electric long-distance unit InterPanter.

The railway system of the Czech Republic is relatively fast, reliable and very dense. In comparison to Western Europe, train travel is inexpensive and Czech trains are therefore very popular across all social classes. The Czech rail network is one of the densest in the world, and according to some sources it has the most kilometres of railway per square kilometre of surface area of any country. There's a distinction between "main" and "branch" lines dating to their time of construction which usually but not always reflects their current importance. Trains on the most important rail lines reach up to 160 km/h (99 mph), the maximum speed for mainland European legacy signalling equipment. The journey between the two biggest cities (Prague and Brno) takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Most trains are operated by the state company Czech Railways (České Dráhy - ČD).


Czech railway network.

In the Czech Republic, railways are very important and form the backbone of public transport. The network contains over 9600 km of railway. The first railway - a horse-drawn line linking České Budějovice in Bohemia and Linz in Austria - started operation in 1827. It was the first railway in continental Europe. Construction of the current mainlines mostly dates to the era before 1870, with most construction afterwards being branch lines or upkeep and maintenance. After the First World War and the breakup of Austria-Hungary the Czechoslovak State Railways were established. After the "Velvet Divorce" of Czechoslovakia following the end of the Cold War, the Czech Republic and Slovakia established their own independent but closely cooperating railways.

In the modern era, Czech Railways operates the vast majority of trains, although some private operators have been established, forming competition on the railways. Since the breakup of Czechoslovakia, there have been talks about new high speed rail lines. However, given the relatively small size of the Czech Republic, there would have to be cooperation with neighbouring countries, but enthusiasm, and more importantly funds, do not seem to be forthcoming. That said, the Velim railway test circuit which allows up to 230 km/h (140 mph) for tilting trains is one of Europe's most important sites for testing all types of trains prior to delivery.

Train types[edit]

A SuperCity "Pendolino" on the Prague - Ostrava line

Train operations consist of regional and long-distance services. Regional trains operate everywhere and with them you can get nearly anywhere. Bigger cities usually have long-distance connections to regional capitals. On most railways, trains run frequently. All trains have at least a second-class service.

General services[edit]

  • Osobní vlak (Os) - regional stopping trains. These can be a rapid transit commuter service or just a local train. You may get a new modern train with first-class or a dirty old train from the Cold War era.
  • Spěšný vlak (Sp) - regional fast trains. These do not stop in some small towns and villages and offer the same mix of rolling stock as Osobní vlak.
  • Rychlík (R) - long-distance express trains. These are usually modernised or new trains with first-class carriages which usually only stop in bigger cities.
  • Expres (Ex) - long-distance higher-quality express trains. These stop in major cities only and, in addition to the facilities of Rx, sometimes offer a restaurant or bistro coach.
  • InterCity (IC) - long-distance highest-quality national express trains. These stop in the biggest cities only and always offer a restaurant or bistro coach. Usually with mandatory seat reservation.
  • EuroCity (EC) - the international equivalent of IC, just without mandatory seat reservation.
  • SuperCity (SC) - long-distance highest-quality express trains. These use high-speed Pendolino tilting units. With mandatory seat reservation.
  • RailJet (rj) - equivalent of EC but these use high-speed RailJet units and have additionally first-plus-class.
  • EuroNight (EN) - long-distance higher-quality international night express trains. With sleeping and couchette coaches. Usually with mandatory seat reservation and always with mandatory bed/couchette reservation.
  • NightJet (NJ) - equivalent of EN but these use Austrian coaches.

Private operators[edit]

A RegioJet locomotive in Prague-Smíchov station
  • LeoExpress (LE) - long-distance express trains which only stop in the bigger cities. They use the Stadler Flirt unit, and offer first-plus-class and first-class. Seat reservation is mandatory.
  • RegioJet (RJ) - long-distance express trains which only stop in the bigger cities. They have new and updated coaches, and offer first-plus-class, first-class and second-minus-class.
  • Arriva (ARR) - regional trains operating in the Central/North Bohemian and Zlín region
  • Trilex (TL) - usually international, stopping trains operated by Die Länderbahn using Siemens Desiro Classic units.
  • TrilexExpress (TLX) - usually international, fast trains operated by Die Länderbahn with Siemens Desiro Classic units.


It is important to keep in mind, that different operators require different tickets. You cannot board an Arriva train with a ticket bought from ČD. In case you accidentally bought the wrong ticket, the conductors can be nice and let tourists travel on, but you shouldn't count on it. In the worst case scenario, you'll just have to buy a new ticket from the conductor.

Stations in bigger cities usually have at least one ticket counter for each respective train operator that has a train running through that station. In smaller stations, there can only be a ČD counter or no ticket counter at all. In that case you either have to purchase the ticket on-line or in the train.

Tickets bought in trains from the conductor are usually more expensive than tickets bought on-line or at the counter, unless you are traveling from a station that does not have any open counter.


OneTicket is a special type of ticket, that can be used to travel on trains of different operators through the whole Czech railway system. It can be useful when traveling long distances, where switching train operators is more favourable than staying with a single one the whole trip. However they can be more expensive than tickets bought separately, for example a ticket from Liberec to Brno, that has one transfer from an Arriva train to a ČD train, costs 562 Kč. When bought separately, the ticket costs only 431 Kč. Buying tickets on-line at the respective operator also often gives you the advantage of getting seat reservations free of charge.

You can buy it either on-line or physically at counters of the participating operators (they'll have a symbol with OneTicket on the counter window). General discounts apply (see Discounts below).

When purchased at the counter, the ticket is valid through the whole day (when purchased for immediate use) or from 00:00 on the day of desired start until 23:59. When purchased on-line and a train connection was selected, the ticket is valid 15 minutes before the regular departure time until midnight.

OneTicket can be used with these train operators in the Czech Republic (as of 2023):

  • České Dráhy (excl. historical, nostalgic and other special trip trains)
  • RegioJet (excl. certain international trains, see the exceptions page for details)
  • Leo Express Tenders (only regional trains, not to be confused with long-distance Leo Express (LE) trains)
  • GW Train Regio
  • Arriva
  • Die Länderbahn
  • AŽD Praha
  • KŽC Doprava (excl. trains 18308 and 18309 going from Prague to Mochov and back)
  • Railway Capital
  • MBM rail (certain trains excluded, see the exceptions page for details)

České dráhy[edit]

Return ticket of Czech Railways from Říčany to České Budějovice via Čerčany with youth discount.

When you buy a ČD ticket from station A to station B, you can choose any ČD train of Czech Railways at any time you want to travel. However, you must travel on a given route, for example to get from A to B you must go via C. Some special discounted tickets require you to travel on a specific train. Seat reservations can be bought in addition to a ticket. If you miss the train on which you have a reservation, you can travel on the next one that does not require reservations.

ČD offers many different ticket types and here are the important:

  • Flexi ticket (Flexi jízdenka) - normal ticket: from A to B (possibly via C), buy it anytime, travel anytime, valid 1 day. Discounts applicable.
  • Flexi concessionary ticket (Flexi zvýhodněná jízdenka) - special cheaper ticket: the sooner you buy, the cheaper you go (up to 60 days before the day of travel): from A to B (via C), buy it anytime, travel anytime, valid 1 day. More discounts applicable.
  • Bound ticket (Vázaná jízdenka) - special even cheaper ticket available between some cities: the sooner you buy, the cheaper you go (up to 60 days before the day of travel): from A to B (via C), available in e-shop only, valid only on a selected train. More discounts applicable.
  • One-off group ticket (Jednorázová skupinová jízdenka) - normal group ticket: from A to B (via C), first person in group pays full fare, second pays 75%, third and any other person pays only 50%, max 5 people, buy it anytime, travel anytime, valid 1 day. Return variant exists (5% off).
  • All-day ticket (Celodenní jízdenka) - network ticket: unlimited travel during the entire day, valid in the whole of the Czech Republic or just in one region for 1 day; buy it anytime, travel anytime and anywhere. For the whole country you pay 699 Kč, for the regions between 169 and 279 Kč.


Railways offer different types of discount based on age and other factors. The most important types of discounts are:

  • Children 0-6 years - travel for free.
  • Children and youths 6-18 years - a 50% discount on all Flexi and Bound tickets.
  • Students 18-25 years - a 50% discount on all Flexi and Bound tickets. You will need to prove that you are student with ISIC.
  • Seniors 65+ years - a 50% discount on all Flexi and Bound tickets.
seat reservation
Someone has a seat reservation for these seats, try to sit somewhere else or you might get kicked out.

Seat reservation[edit]

Sometimes, it can happen that a random person comes to you and tells you to give up your seat, because he/she has a seat reservation (místenka) there. This is common and can be annoying, both for the person who was sitting there and for the person asking. To prevent this, you can buy yourself your own seat reservation. Seat reservation is free if you are buying a domestic ticket online, and costs 35 Kč if bought separately or at a ticket office. If you are crossing borders in the train, seat reservation costs €3 (or equivalent in Kč). As Deutsche Bahn charges €4.50 for seat reservations, you should buy seat reservations for journeys where both the Czech and the German railways sell them through the Czech Railways.

If you do not have a seat reservation, you have to give up your seat to a person who has one (you can ask to see it). Sometimes, it is marked above the seat that someone has a seat reservation for a section of the journey (either with a piece of paper or on an electronic display) - in that case, it is better to sit somewhere else. If there is "expresní rezervace" (express reservation) sign, it means that seat reservations for these seats are sold in the meantime between marking seats and train departure - it is possible that someone may request this seat, but it is not very likely. The last case are seats with no marker - reservations should not be sold for these seats, but you can never really count on that. It is good to buy seat reservation usually when travelling more than 2 hours on busiest long-distance trains (usually Ex lines).

Seat reservations can be bought only for long-distance trains. In LE, SC, some RJ and some IC trains seat reservations are mandatory. For ČD trains with mandatory seat reservation, prices are higher. Sometimes ČD train will officially be 'sold out' for seat reservations, but you will be offered a cheaper ticket without reservation, but at your own risk of not sitting through the whole of journey (that could be easy solvable on train just by switching seats).

International tickets[edit]

In general, Czech ticket prices are cheaper than those of its western neighbors Germany and Austria, so German and Austrian cross border offers are usually aimed at residents of the respective countries and may be somewhat overpriced for the Czech part. That said, they may be rather practical nonetheless.

ČD offers many different international ticket types and here are the important:

  • Basic fare NRT (Základní jízdné NRT) - normal international ticket (but quite expensive): from A to B (via C), buy it anytime, travel anytime, valid 4 days. Group and return variant exists. Discounts applicable.
  • First Minute Europe (Včasná jízdenka Evropa) - special international ticket: the sooner you buy, the cheaper you go (up to 90 days before the day of travel), from A to B (via C), available between the Czech Republic and some European countries, valid only on selected international train and then 2 days. Discounts applicable.
  • All-day ticket + Germany (Celodenní jízdenka + Německo) - network ticket: unlimited travel during the entire day, valid in one Czech region and in German border area for 1 day, in Germany valid only in regional trains, buy it anytime, travel anytime and anywhere. Group variant exists.
  • All-day ticket + Poland (Celodenní jízdenka + Polsko) - network ticket: unlimited travel during the entire day, valid in one Czech region and in Polish border area for 1 day, in Poland valid only in regional trains, buy it anytime, travel anytime and anywhere. Group variant exists.
  • EgroNet ticket (Jízdenka EgroNet) - network ticket: unlimited travel during the entire day, valid in euroregion Egrensis for 1 day, in Germany valid only in regional trains, buy it anytime, travel anytime and anywhere. Group variant exists.
  • Euro-Nisa-Ticket (Jízdenka Euro-Nisa-Ticket) - network ticket: unlimited travel during the entire day, valid in Czech-Polish-German border area for 1 day, in Germany and Poland valid only in regional trains, buy it anytime, travel anytime and anywhere. Group variant exists.
  • Labe-Elbe ticket (Jízdenka Labe-Elbe) - network ticket: unlimited travel during the entire day, valid in DÚK (around Usti nad Labem) and VVO (around Dresden) transport systems for 1 day, buy it anytime, travel anytime and anywhere. Group variant exists.

Also, railway operators from other countries such as the following offer many international tickets to the Czech Republic:


At the station[edit]

The station network in the Czech Republic consists of railway stations (nádraží) and railway stops (zastávka). Railway stops provide only basic facilities - usually only a shelter, and sometimes a waiting room with a ticket counter, and have 1 or 2 platforms. On the other hand, railway stations usually provide ticket counters, waiting rooms and shops. The most important stations - main train stations - called hlavní nádraží, usually have even more - luggage storage, more shops, more ticket counters and more platforms.

Slightly misleadingly, platform (nástupiště) and track (kolej) are not the same thing in Czechia. For example, in the UK, "platform" has the meaning of one platform edge. In Czechia, "platform" has the meaning of the whole area used by passengers between two tracks (or between the station building and a track), and "tracks" are numbered in the order in which they are placed from the station building, regardless of whether or not they have a platform beside them. Some smaller stations only have one platform by the station building, and several tracks leading outwards from it, which can be walked across once the train arrives (but should not be crossed before it arrives).

Departure board at Praha hl.n. during a snow calamity.

Every station has its own schedule posters with departures and arrivals. The yellow one is for departures (odjezdy) and the white one is for arrivals (příjezdy). Also, stations have usually electronic departure boards (and sometimes even electronic arrival boards) that usually show category, number, name, line, carrier, destination, direction, time, platform, track and delay of the connection. It also shows if it is a long-distance train or a high-quality train, in which case the category is highlighted in red or white, respectively. If the time is flashing, it means that the train is about to depart.

Important terms that might appear on a departure board are:

  • spoj zrušen = train is cancelled
  • spoj jede odklonem = train is rerouted
  • spoj je nahrazen náhradní autobusovou dopravou = train is replaced by a bus replacement service
  • spoj ukončil jízdu v ... = train ended in ...

On board[edit]

When getting on board long-distance trains it is good to know where your carriage will stop. You will find that on train composition list at the station. Carriages are usually numbered by 3-digit codes. However, you will only find where in the train the carriage will be, not where on the platform.

On the train you can occupy any available seat in the selected travel class, like in many other European countries. Be aware that on long-distance trains it is possible to have seat reservations. Seats are usually numbered by 2-digit codes. Reservations for beds and couchettes are always compulsory.

These are the most important types of carriages. Sometimes carriages are mixed with two types (for example a carriage both with 1st and 2nd class). In mixed carriages with 1st and 2nd class, the 1st class section is usually marked with a yellow stripe on the outside of the carriage.

  • 1st class carriages - offer high comfort of travel. Seat arrangement: 2+1 or 3+0 in compartment coach.
  • 2nd class carriages - offer normal comfort of travel. Seat arrangement: 2+2 or 4+0/3+0 in compartment coach.
  • Restaurant carriages - offer high-quality meals from its own kitchen served in its own dining room. When the train is in Czech Republic, Slovakia or Hungary prices are reasonable, but they are two to three times higher outside these countries.
  • Bistro carriages - offer snacks and lower-quality meals in a bar-type room. When the train is in Czech Republic, Slovakia or Hungary prices are reasonable, but they are two to three times higher outside these countries.
  • Sleeping cars - offer high-quality over-night travel in normal beds. Bed arrangement: 1-3 beds in one compartment.
  • Couchette cars - offer lower-quality over-night travel in normal 2nd class compartment with couchettes. Couchette arrangement: 4-6 couchettes in one compartment.
  • Baggage car - some older long distance trains still have baggage cars, in which you can store your bicycles for a fee. Be sure to tell the conductor where you intend to get off the train.

International connections[edit]

Czech EuroCity train on the Děčín-Dresden section of the Prague - Berlin line.

The Czech Republic is well-connected with the European railway network. It has a total of 31 railway border crossings with passenger services. Regional and long-distance services provide usually fast, comfortable and reliable international connections. You can easily get to capitals of (not only) neighbouring countries. Sleeping trains (or direct coaches) are also operated to many destinations. You can use IDOS to find your connection. Here you can find lists of long-distance international trains, lines and direct coaches.


Also, regional trains are operated on České Budějovice - Linz line , České Velenice - Gmund - Vienna line, Znojmo - Vienna line and on Břeclav - Vienna line.


Of the rail lines linking Germany and the Czech Republic only one is electrified (as of 2023) the highly congested but stunningly beautiful Elbe Valley line from Dečin to Dresden. The Czech government has been in talks with Germany since the 1990s to remedy this situation thus far without tangible success. As diesel trains have worse acceleration than electric trains, many lines will be slower than they could be and you might have to change trains where electrification ends. One of the high-speed rail projects advocated for by both the Czech and the Saxon government would entail a tunnel under the Ore Mountains (which would be the longest in either country) to provide a faster link from Dresden to Prague and relieve the congested Elbe Valley line. However, as of 2023 construction hasn't started and it is unclear when - if ever - it will.

Also, regional trains are operated on Klatovy - Železná Ruda - Zwiesel line, Domažlice - Cham line, Cheb - Marktredwitz - Nuremberg line, Cheb - Hof line, Cheb - Plauen line, Sokolov - Zwickau/Plauen line, Karlovy Vary - Johanngeorgenstadt - Zwickau line, Chomutov - Annaberg-Buchholz - Chemnitz line, Děčín - Bad Schandau line, Rumburk - Bad Schandau line, Seifhennersdorf - Varnsdorf - Zittau line and on Liberec - Zittau - Dresden line.

Many of those lines cross mountain ranges (the Czech-German border largely coincides with mountain ranges), but perhaps the most notable one is the line via Johanngeorgenstadt which at its time of construction was called the "Ore Mountain Semmering". This line is indeed both steeper and reaches a higher altitude than its Austrian namesake. However, unlike its more famous namesake it never carried long distance mainline trains to a significant extent.


Regional train in Mieroszów station on Meziměstí - Walbrzych line.

All long-distance trains in/to Poland are with mandatory seat reservation.

Also, regional trains are operated on Tanvald - Szklarska Poreba - Jelenia Góra line, Trutnov - Sedzislaw line, Teplice n.M. - Wałbrzych line, Ústí nad Orlicí - Klodzko line, Jeseník - Glucholazy - Krnov line, Bohumín - Katowice/Racibórz line and on Český Těšín - Cieszyn line.


Also, regional trains are operated on Jablunkov - Čadca line, Vsetín - Púchov line, Bylnice - Trenčín line, Veselí nad Moravou - Nové Mesto nad Váhom line and on Břeclav - Kúty line.

Railway attractions[edit]

Map of Rail travel in the Czech Republic

Romantic local railways[edit]

The living legend of Czech local railways - class 810.

Romantické lokálky are railways reminding of good old times. These railways can be nearly considered as a heritage from the second half of the 20th century. They are literally living history as they are not modernized and keeping them in service requires all of the old-school professions that have been replaced by technology on modern railways. Also, trains running on these railways are often nearly historic. Nobody cares about these railways on a nationwide scale. They are usually quite scenic as the trains on them pass through nice countryside. However, the number of those railways is quickly decreasing as regional authorities want to make them modern, safe and comfortable, though it will make them less interesting and adventurous.

  • 1 Upper Sázava Pacific (Horní Posázavský Pacifik) (Čerčany - Světlá n/S). One of the most-known local railway. The whole railway lies in Sázava River Valley in a picturesque hilly landscape. Also, it serves important tourist attractions like Zruč nad Sázavou, Český Šternberk Castle or Sázava Monastery. railway line 212 (Czech Republic) (Q11838874) on Wikidata Železniční trať Čerčany – Světlá nad Sázavou on Wikipedia
  • 2 Nova Domus Local Railways (Jindřichohradecké Místní Dráhy) (Jindřichův Hradec - Nová Bystřice). JHMD is a true narrow-gauge romantic local railway. Heritage diesel and steam trains pass through the forests, fields and meadows of South Bohemia in a tourist region known as the "Bohemian Canada". railway line 229 (Q1764209) on Wikidata Jindřichohradecké místní dráhy on Wikipedia
  • 3 Moldava Mountain Railway (Moldavská horská dráha) (Most - Moldava v/K/h). This scenic railway in North Bohemia offers everything from Ore Mountains. Trains depart from industrial city and arrive in beautiful nature. This mountain railway is one of the most romantic in the region. It is very popular both in summer and in winter, as hiking and cross-country skiing are one of the best things that you can do there. Most–Moldava railway on Wikipedia
  • 4 Altum Vadum Electric Railway (Vyšebrodská elektrická dráha) (Rybník - Lipno n/V). This local electric railway near borders with Austria and Šumava leads to Lipno n/V where the biggest water dam in the Czech Republic was built. It has big both economic and touristic importance. Trains on this route also stop in Vyšší Brod where famous monastery lies. Note, that trains are usually hauled by electric locomotives only in summer. Rybník–Lipno nad Vltavou railway line (Q201179) on Wikidata
  • 5 Osoblaha Narrow-Gauge Railway (Osoblažská úzkokolejka) (Třemešná v/S - Osoblaha). This romantic railway in Northern Czech Silesia is the only narrow-gauge railway operated by ČD. It lies in forgotten countryside under Jeseníky mountains, near borders with Poland. Třemešná ve Slezsku – Osoblaha Railway on Wikipedia
  • 6 Bechyně Electric Railway (Bechyňská elektrická dráha) (Tábor - Bechyně). Bechyně railway, winding around small hills in South Bohemia, is the first electrified railway in the republic. In summer, there are regular nostalgic rides. Tábor–Bechyně railway (Q803355) on Wikidata Tábor–Bechyně railway on Wikipedia

Abandoned railways[edit]

Abandoned train stop on Loket Local Railway.

A lot of railway lines in the country were put out of service in the second half of the 20th century. Usually due to lack of passengers, cargo or money. Some of them remained almost untouched, only nature (or thieves and vandals) took care of them and they are today very attractive to railway enthusiasts as you can (sometimes with a bit of struggle) walk them through.

  • 1 Loket Local Railway (Loketská místní dráha) (Loket - Horní Slavkov). This railway is one of the most romantic in the republic, also, it is the oldest local railway in the republic. Unfortunately, the line does not have any services. However, viaducts, tunnels and the railway itself have not been dismantled, although they are in bad condition. Nové Sedlo u Lokte–Loket railway line (Q802572) on Wikidata


As railway has a strong tradition in the Czech Republic, there are many railway museums. Most of them are small, but some of them are big. The vast majority of them are worth a visit.

  • 1 Railway museum Lužná u Rakovníka (Železniční muzeum Lužná u Rakovníka), +420 313 537 700, . Biggest railway museum in Czechia at former railway depot of Lužná railway station. Features many steam engines, unique historic locomotives and wagons and more. In summer saison dispatches steam trains, usually to/from Prague. Interesting day trip from Prague. 90 Kč. Lužná u Rakovníka Railway Museum (Q1311784) on Wikidata České dráhy Museum on Wikipedia
  • 2 National Technical Museum (Národní technické muzeum Praha) (tram stop Letenské náměstí), +420 220 399 111, . A large museum in Prague. Trains are just a part of its exhibition, but the huge steam engine in the main hall is really impressive. Adultsː 280 Kč Seniors/students/ː 150 Kč Children 60 Kč.
  • 3 Prague Public Transport Museum (Muzeum MHD) (Tram station Vozovna Střešovice). While not a strictly railway museum, this huge public transportation museum includes many historical tramways and buses. You can go there using historical tram number 41, which goes through the city center and costs only 35 Kč payable onboard. 100 Kč.

Historical trains and railway events[edit]

Old and new locomotives at Railway Day

In Czech Republic, there is a strong tradition of historical train rides and numerous events with historical trains. These usually include steam engines, but also old diesel trains are growing in popularity. Such events are especially popular among families with children and railway fans. You can find extensive events list on Czech Railway fans website or at the official site of Czech Railways, which host many of these events. In summer, there is a historical train running somewhere in Czech Republic every weekend, sometimes from Prague. Company KŽC runs historical diesel trains every weekend in Prague and many other places. Online resources are often only in Czech, but you can also ask at Prague Main Railway Station in Czech Railways information office (next to cash desks).

  • Railway Day (Den železnice). A huge railway event, at which you can see numerous steam engines, ride a steam train or see the newest trains. This yearly event takes place in September, and usually has one main venue (National Railway Day) and around seven smaller venues (Regional Railway Day). Venues are usually in bigger cities, National Railway Day is in different city every years.
  • Children's day in Prague - Braník (Den dětí v Praze-Braník). Every year around Children's day (1st June), there is an event on the railway station Praha - Braník in Prague. You can check some steam engines or ride a historical train in numerous routes.
This travel topic about Rail travel in the Czech Republic is a usable article. It touches on all the major areas of the topic. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.