Exactly one year ago the European Union expanded from fifteen to twenty-five member countries. According to EU directives, the new members must allow private rail operators access onto their national networks, though Poland and Hungary requested and received permission to defer full open access until 2007. Until then they have to open up 20 % of their network capacity to companies other than the State-owned operator. Though progress in this area has undeniably been made, how close does the reality approach to the EU ideal? Our investigation of what has been taking place in the freight sector in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary reveals a few surprises.
ÖBB’s Tauruses are daily visitors to both Bratislava-Petrzalka station, and also since December 2004 to the capital’s main station on the left bank of the Dunaj. However, on this final part of their run they are dragged dead, on account of the interference currents which they set up. On 20 and 27 November 2004 WLB’s ES 64 U2-022 also visited Slovakia, the run between Wien-Matzleins-dorf and Bratislava-Petrzalka being arranged for training of WLB drivers over that route.
Photo: Marián Dujnič