Paris - Bratislava by train and investments in Slovakia - updated


Foxconn (the company that makes the iphone for Apple) has just bought Sony's factory in Slovakia. Along with Samsung, this is making Slovakia a hotspot for the production of high quality electronics. It seems that after cars Giant electronics behemoths are setting up shop. It is intriguing that Foxconn is Chinese and yet it chooses to invest in Slovakia for its european investments.

In other news the transformation of Bratislava's transport and integration with 2 Ten-t rail corridors is about to begin mirroring the work Austria's rail started 60km away in Vienna. 

Here are some graphics and visualisations of the cutting edge infrastructure that is going to be built in Bratislava:

Disused station in Filialka...

to be replaced by

new filialka station (close to existing ursinyho tram stop)


Transportation links and proximity to other eurozone countries' markets seen as strategic reasons to invest in Slovakia by asian investors.

The South-Korean companies Kia and Samsung want to continue broadening their activities in Slovakia, South Korean Ambassador to Slovakia Seok-soong Seo told Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek at their meeting on Tuesday. “The ambassador informed the minister that the main Korean investors, Kia and Samsung, would continue expanding their activities in Slovakia in the coming years, so Slovakia is becoming a more and more important partner to South Korea,” the ministry said.

The Slovak Trade and Development Agency (SARIO) just announced that in total so far this year there are 85 investment projects meaning that about EUR 2.4billion to EUR 2.5 billion will come into Slovakia as investments.

The Director of the SARIO direct foreign investments division Andrea Chovancova informed that these investors are going to create more than 12,000 jobs in Slovakia.

The agency is currently working on 139 investment projects at present in total.

Why Bratislava? Why Slovakia?

The key reason behind all these long term bets in Slovakia's and Bratislava's success are not cost based anymore. Bratislava is significantly above the average in the EU, in terms of wealth and prices for most goods are comparable to London or Athens.

Bratislava's good connections with Austria and the rest of europe are to receive a further boost.

In a previous posting we discussed the new european transport networks. Part of the major and transformational projects headed by the EU is TEN-T that aspires to connect the different parts of europe together with transportation links to boost trade among other things.

Bratislava has been included in two of these project including  the one to Paris via Vienna and Stuttgard. This is obviously a transformational project for Bratislava as it links the city ever tighter to old-european capitals such as Vienna and Paris but it also makes Bratislava a part of the core european transport networks enhancing access in an environmentally sensitive way likely to survive the unsustainable boom in cheap filghts and their operators.

This is a relevant point as land transport is crucial if environmental concerns curb the affordability of cheap flights through which much of the eastern parts of the EU are linked to the older EU members. For example if one is stuck in Bucharest and wishes to travel to Frankfurt, the obvious choice would be to fly. However both because of the crisis but also because governments are increasing the taxes on polluting forms of travel, economic development via the airport is not a future-proof plan. This project therefore is vital for Bratislava as it can mean that the city becomes a hub for traffic from other regional capitals like Prague, Budapest etc. who would connect via Bratislava to the fast train network heading west. It could in fact become the replacement of the popular cheap flights. As natural a choice as taking the eurostar train between London and Paris.

Why is this more than just trains crossing borders
  1. Vienna's Sudbanhof station is already being demolished to make way for the infrastructure and new upgraded connection to Bratislava for the high speed trains. More on this big event Imagefolder, english (PDF, 1,65 MB)
  2. This project will be run using ERTMS ("European Rail Traffic Management System"). This is a major industrial project being implemented by Europe, a project which will serve to make rail transport safer and more competitive. One component of ERTMS, the European Train Control System (ETCS), guarantees a common standard that enables trains to cross national borders and enhances safety, speed, and cost competitiveness.

  3. Establishing an efficient trans-European transport network (TEN-T) is a key strategy for competitiveness and employment in Europe. If Europe is to fulfil its economic and social potential, it is essential to build the missing links and remove the bottlenecks in our EU transport infrastructure, as well as to ensure the sustainability of our transport networks into the future. Furthermore, it integrates environmental protection requirements with a view to promoting sustainable development.

  4. In view of the growth in traffic between Member States, expected to double by 2020, the investment required to complete and modernise a true trans-European network in the enlarged EU amounts to some € 500 billion from 2007 to 2020, out of which € 270 billion for the priority axis and projects.

  5. The speeds make this an alternative to planes. The train, TGV, already allows travellers to go from Paris to Reims in 45 minutes, and from Paris to Strasbourg, on the German border, in just two hours and 20 minutes. Under the old schedules, the trip to Strasbourg was nearly twice as long, at three hours and 50 minutes. TGV stands for "train a grande vitesse," which literally means high-speed train.

  6. The areas of Bratislava that are likely to be affected by all this are likely to be:
    Hlavna Stanica - Stare Mesto (Old Town)
    Filialka - Stare Mesto (Racianske Myto/Ursinyho)

Some visualisations of the Bratislava station for this end of the Paris Bratislava line now follow.

This is how the New Bratislava station and area will look

Potent stuff for the medium to long term future of this city.

and what about the trains that will run on the lines? The competing technologies are ICE from Germany or TGV from france

just see this (who needs planes...)

another one with some very happy frenchies :) well done!


  1. I hope they're not going to demolish Bratislava Station! It's beautiful, although it would be a good idea for some of the international travel staff to speak a second language! I'm sure it would be possible to preserve the beautiful old station while upgrading the services within it. Shopping centres are not the solution.

  2. Bratislava main station is 3rd-world station. Not easy to buy ticket when not speaking slovak. Ticket officers looks angry for no reason. Food is available from the small stalls like in fun-fairs or remote villages somewhere in Turkey.

  3. its a relic of the communist era
    but its about to be transformed...

  4. I am from Bratislava, SK and yes, BA Main is in catastrophic condition, the building, the services, the surrounding, it is a shame having such main train station in the biggest and capital city of Slovakia. I hope they will demolish it altogether and build something representative...

    The oldest building is quite nice, but the hideous communist "newer" one which is sticked to the front is terrible.

  5. Actually the older building HAD BEEN nice, but that's history ever since the Commies have turned it into a monstrosity around 1960. Then they've made it even worse by adding that ugly foyer to its front.

    Whichever urban development plan will be gone forward with, all of them include a reconstruction of the old building to its former glory.