A giant development project backed by Sekyra Group and associated investors seems to be slowly getting off the ground at Prague’s Smíchov railway station. But as it does so, it is shoving rail transport services out of the picture.
Later development stages are likely to impact heavily on the yellow RegioJet trains operated by Radim Jančura. The first notable change on the rail tracks will come in December with Czech Railway’s [ČD’s] Hostivice–Prague service being diverted to the capital’s main station, Hlavní nádraží.
That line’s diesel multiple unit (DMU) trains terminate at Na Knížecí, a stop slightly beyond Smíchov station. “The diversion will occur in response to a developer’s request made because it has building activities in the vicinity,” said Petr Šťáhlavský, a ČD spokesperson.
Sekyra’s initial project stage will be built adjacent to Nádražní street. Two apartment blocks of 50,000 square metres each, boasting 400 flats in all, are planned. The developer will apply for a zoning permit at the year’s end and will then move for a planning permit. Actual building should commence within two years.
From December, DMUs from Hostivice will stop at what is called the northern platform and access the rail bridge across the Vltava river on their way to Hlavní nádraží via a connecting track bridging over Nádražní street and passing through Na paloučku. The local service will thus have to slot in between RegioJet trains that use the northern platform for assembly, cleaning and the restocking of on-board catering. The Na paloučku connecting track (one of two linking Smíchov station with the rail bridge) is currently used almost exclusively by RegioJet. However, the need to share the track is not the end of RegioJet’s troubles.
Sekyra has development plans for the whole area defined by the Dobříšská and Radlická streets on one flank of Smíchov station and Nádražní on the other. The track presently used by the yellow trains will fall victim to the development. The Rail Infrastructure Administration [SŽDC] is fine with the Na paloučku link disappearing. RegioJet in contrast is not willing to give up its marshalling ground. “On the contrary, it is infrastructure that is in frequent use and as such it cannot be scrapped as unused. RegioJet has previously pleaded with the SŽDC to actually have this infrastructure’s capacity increased,” said Aleš Ondrůj, a RegioJet spokesperson. Ondrůj claimed that there is neither a legal basis nor a valid reason for a change of use.
Sekyra seems entirely unconcerned about its impact on Jančura’s interests. The group’s interlocutor in the negotiations is either ČD or SŽDC. “We’ve had no contact, positive or otherwise, with Mr. Jančura or his businesses,” said Leoš Anderle, Sekyra Group’s executive director.