Political information event in January 2019 (Deutsche Bahn AG/Susann Holtorp)

Public relations

Dialogue with the region

Large, important infrastructure projects can be implemented successfully only if transparent information is provided about them from the outset and the broadest possible acceptance achieved among those affected. Early dialogue can minimise conflicts and improve planning.

This public participation is not an official planning procedure and is not a substitute for official processes. Rather, it aims to inform the public at an early stage about the objectives of the project, the planned implementation and the expected outcomes.

Dialogue at political level

Immediately after the planning phase began, all local mayors were personally informed about the project. The project team have been in close consultation with the region ever since.

In addition, an annual meeting is held with members of the state parliament and Bundestag along with the heads of the district authorities, as the successful implementation of federal projects relies on political support.

Dialogue with local residents

Public meetings have been held approximately every six months since April 2019. The key objective of these events is to give residents and interested parties first-hand information about the progress of the project, respond directly to their unanswered questions and identify the issues that are important to the region.

Another important aspect of direct communication with local residents is the project’s engagement with the “Basistunnel nach Prag” (Base Tunnel to Prague) action group. DB Netz AG and the action group have been in regular contact since November 2018, and DB Netz AG incorporated the action group’s idea of an all-tunnel route into its planning from an early stage.

The options proposed by the action group were examined by DB Netz AG and adapted in line with the project requirements and technical guidelines. An all-tunnel option is also being examined in the preliminary design process.

The first online information event took place on October 7, 2020. This format is set to continue in 2021.

Public meeting in Heidenau on 16 April 2019 (Deutsche Bahn AG/Susann Holtorp)

The dialogue forum – everyone’s views represented

To engage with the region during the planning stages, a dialogue forum was set up in April 2019 on the initiative of Deutsche Bahn. Here, DB AG staff and their counterparts from Správa železnic meet with representatives from the municipalities, administrative districts, civil society and citizens’ groups as well as from environmental agencies, the transport sector and business.

The principles of cooperation within the dialogue forum have been laid down in a mission statement. All minutes and presentations are available in the media centre.

Second dialogue forum in Pirna in June 2019/DB AG

As part of the dialogue forum, working groups were formed for specific topics to work on an acceptable solution for the region. The following working groups have been created so far:

  • Heidenau working group: The group will accompany the planning for this critical location at which the new and existing railway lines will join up. It will help to bring about a solution that is acceptable to the whole region.
  • Discovery trail working group: The group will develop suggestions for a (cross-border) discovery trail along the new line and work on ideas and implementation for tourist offerings (work will begin in late 2020).
  • Catalogue of criteria working group: The group will hold detailed discussions on DB Netz AG’s proposal for a catalogue of criteria and feed in possible criteria (work will begin in 2021).

European Grouping for Territorial Cooperation “New railway line Dresden–Prague” as a supporting body

The “New railway line Dresden–Prague EGTC” was established in 2016 in order to carry out preparatory, coordination and support activities during the preparation and implementation of the Dresden–Prague new railway line project.

Its members – the Czech Republic, the Free State of Saxony, the District of Sächsische Schweiz Osterzgebirge and the Ústí Nad Labem District – will provide technical, organisational and communication-related assistance and support the project developer. This will include producing accompanying studies within the framework of INTERREG projects. The aim of such studies will be to conduct in-depth work on fundamental aspects of the cross-border corridor (e.g. geological studies) or to investigate the future effects on traffic of this new cross-border rail link.

Regular contacts at each EGTC member ensure the constant exchange of information and a stable cross-border cooperation in a spirit of partnership. This helps to support ongoing activities both in Saxony and the Czech Republic.