Czechoslovak State Railways

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Czechoslovak State Railways (in Czech Československé státní dráhy, ČSD) was a state-owned railway company in Czechoslovakia.

The company was created in 1918, after the end of First World War and the breakup of Austria-Hungary. It took over the rolling stock and infrastructure of the Imperial Austrian State Railways.

In 1930, Czechoslovakia had 13,600 km of railroads (the fifth largest in Europe), of which 81% were state (ČSD)-owned, and the trend was to nationalize the remaining private railroads. Most of the infrastructure was concentrated in the industrial regions of the Czech lands. 87% of the railroads were single-track. 135,000 people were employed on the railroads (around 1% of the population).

When Czechoslovakia broke up in 1939, the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia formed the "Bohemian-Moravian Railway" company (in Czech Českomoravské dráhy-ČMD, in German Böhmisch-Mährische Bahn-BMB) under the control of the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR). In the Slovak State, the company "Slovak Railways" (in Slovak Slovenské železnice-SŽ) was formed. In 1945 the ČSD was re-established.

After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia at the end of 1992, the company was divided into the state-owned České dráhy (Czech Railways) and Železnice Slovenskej republiky (Railways of the Slovak Republic). The fixed infrastructure was transferred to the successor countries according to location; the remainder was divided by 2:1 ratio.


  • Electrification of the railroads started gradually during the 1920s. In Prague the trains used a direct current system at 1.5 kV.
  • To power the line from Prague to Chop (Чоп, Čop, Ukraine State), a direct current system using 3 kV was built after 1945.
  • To the north of this line, trains use direct current with voltage 3 kV, to the south they use alternating current with voltage 25 kV at 50 Hz. These two systems continue today.