THE RAIL TRANSPORT SECTION  
 

The Rail Transport Section brings together some highly prominent transportation, dispatching, and supply companies that operate in the field of rail transport or combined transport or that contribute to the construction of the rail transport infrastructure to a major extent.

The activity of this section is primarily based on specialised operational, transportational, and vehicular components, as well as infrastructures. The aim here is to draw closer to the demands and targets of the EU in the field of rail transport, to maintain the full functioning of rail transport in the Czech Republic, and to play a full part in the European rail network.

With the approval of Rail Act No. 266/94 Coll., other transporters apart from Czech Rail were allowed access to the railways. The necessity to ensure not only competition, but also the cooperation of all transporters involved was certainly something to emerge from this, especially given that the railways in the Czech Republic have a consistently significant share of principally freight transport. In fact, the railways account for 40 % of all freight transport, which is considerably higher than in Europe in general. In terms of passenger transport, its market share has increased in the face of a slight downturn given the fact that bus transport has witnessed such a considerable decline.

The number of carriers in freight transport has developed at an extremely fast rate, mainly at the integrated transport substrata in carriage from mining areas or places of production to the places of consumption. The entry of external carriers to the rail network has been realised at a price regulated by the Ministry of Finance, which has itself caused a whole range of problems both on the part of external carriers and also on the part of the administrator of the Czech Rail network.

Following the beginning of privatisation and the leasing out of regional lines, more carriers are beginning to develop the operation of passenger transport. Even this is a controversial point, given the distribution of state subsidies on passenger transport, since no subsidy regulations have been set forth.

From the conceptual side of affairs, tasks associated with cooperation on the implementation of the principles determined by the Government Resolution on the transport policy of the Czech Republic for the sphere of rail transport are the primary assignments that lie in front of the section at the current time. This principally involves assignments in the privatisation and transformation process at Czech Rail, in the preparation of conditions for the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU, the assurance of an optimised transport service for the regions, the development of the infrastructure, and the harmonisation of conditions on the transport market.

In relation to these fundamental tasks, the significant improvement of the legislative framework for rail transport would appear to be the most important in the period in question, both within this branch of transport itself and in relation to the other types of transport.