Autumn 2021. In theory we could travel to other continents, but destinations we had in mind such as Japan or the United Kingdom were impossible to plan ahead. Instead we organised a rail trip to Eastern Europe, travelling to Berlin, Gdańsk, Wrocław, Karlovy Vary, Pilsen, Bratislava, Poprad, Vienna, Linz and Salzburg. By travelling to Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakiaand Austria, we explore an area which was in the (not too distant) past bonded together by the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation and by Austria-Hungary.
After a train-less week we continued our trip towards Bratislava in Slovakia. As there were no direct trains, we had to take a circuitous route via Prague. To have some variation we decided to travel with a change in Plzen instead of the shorter direct route via Usti nad Labem.
The first part of the trip was a regional Train from Karlovy Vary to Plzen. This was operate by a brand new 2-coach RegioPanter electric multiple unit in the colours of the Pilsen region. Fittingly this unit was also built by Czech builder Skoda in Pilsen. It was a very comfortable modern low floor unit, with nice seats, a good information system, clean and nice toilet, a good working air-conditioning and of course a comfortable ride. I would be very happy if they bought such trains in Belgium.
The first part of the trip took us south to Cheb before taking us eastbound to Pilsen. While the first part was only a bit hilly the second part got much more scenic due to crossing through the mountainous terrain.
We had. An on time arrival in Pilsen Hln, a nice looking classic station with a building in between two sets of tracks, just like in Dresden.
The next part of the trip was on the Zapadni Express. This is a service operated in cooperation by both CD and Alex from Munich to Prague. In Germany it is operated by Alex as we already reviewed it between Regensburg and Munich. In Pilsen the German diesel locomotive is switched for a Czech electric locomotive. The train has two second class Czech coaches, one second class German coach and one German mixed 1st and 2nd class coach. Both Czech coaches are modernised air-conditioned open seated coaches, with seats in a 2-2 configuration.
We were seated in one of these coaches. We found the seats to be comfortable and having more legroom than the PKP EIP in 1st class. On the day we travelled both German coaches where older non air-conditioned compartment coaches, these are scheduled to be more modern air-conditioned ones however.
After Plzen the train has a non-stop run to the Czech capital of Prague, only stopping at Praha Smichov before finishing at the main station. Right after Plzen we already crossed the new Ejpovice tunnel, opened in 2018 this new stretch of 160 km/h line has with 4,15 kilometres Czechia`s longest railway tunnel.
Most of the scenery is similarly hilly and rural as we were already used to by Czechia now, only after Beroun it became more hilly and spectacular as we followed the Berounka river in its valley. Due to some works around the Praha Smichov area our train arrived with an 8 minutes delay into Prague main station, still plenty on time for our connection onwards with RegioJet to Bratislava which will be featured in a separate article.
2021 Rail Tour of Imperial Europe
- POTSDAM 2021 | Schloss Sanssouci.
- 1945 Potsdam Conference’s Cecilienhof Palace.
- Potsdam 2021.
- REVIEW | InterContinental Berlin.
- BERLIN 2021 | Pergamon, ‘Das Panorama’.
- BERLIN 2021 | Humboldt Forum in the Berlin Palace.
- BERLIN 2021 | The Bundestag in the Reichstag.
- Berlin 2021.
- By train from Berlin to Gdansk via Szczecin.
- Stopover in Szczecin.
- REVIEW | Restauracja Ritz in Gdańsk.
- REVIEW | Holiday Inn Gdansk.
- GDAŃSK | Museum of the Second World War.
- GDAŃSK | European Solidarity Centre or Europejskie Centrum Solidarności.
- A walk through Gdańsk.
- Gdańsk 2021.
- POLAND | PKP Intercity Gdansk to Wroclaw via Warsaw.
- Wrocław Museum of Architecture.
- The Dwarfs of Wrocław.
- Poland 2021.
- By train from Wroclaw to Karlovy Vary.
- Karlovy Vary.
- REVIEW | Hotel Imperial Karlovy Vary.
- Czechia’s Great Spa Town of Europe Františkovy Lázně.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen Historical Underground Tunnels.
- CZECHIA | Pilsner Urquell Brewery Tour.
- CZECHIA | Pilsen.
- CZECHIA 2021 | Cheb and its castle.
- Hotel room for one.