Prague is serviced by two international train stations, so always make certain you know which station your train is using. The main station, Hlavní Nádraží, is about 500 yards east of Wenceslas Square via Washingtonova ulice. The other international station is Nádraží Holešovice, in a suburban area about 2 km (1 mile) north of the city center along the Metro Line C (red). Nádraží Holešovice is frequently the point of departure for trains heading to Berlin, Vienna, and Budapest. Two other large stations in Prague service mostly local destinations. Smíchovské Nádraží—southwest of the city center across the Vltava (on Metro Line B [yellow])—services destinations to the west, including trains to Karlštejn. Masarykovo Nádraží, near Náměstí Republiky in the center of the city, services mostly suburban destinations.
For train times, consult the timetables posted at the stations. On timetables, departures (odjezd) appear on a yellow background; arrivals (příjezd) are on white. There are two information desks at the main station, Hlavní Nádraží. The main Čedok office downtown can advise on train times and schedules.
On arriving at Hlavní Nádraží, the best way to get to the center of town is by Metro. The station lies on Metro Line C (red), and is just one stop from the top of Wenceslas Square (station: Muzeum)—travel in the direction of Haje station. You can also walk the 500 yards or so to the square, though the walk is not advisable late at night. A taxi ride from the main station to the center should cost about 100 Kč. To reach the city center from Nádraží Holešovice, take the Metro Line C (red) four stops to Muzeum; a taxi ride should cost roughly 200–250 Kč.
The state-run rail system is called České dráhy (ČD). On longer runs, it's not really worth taking anything less than an express (rychlík) train, marked in red on the timetable. Tickets are inexpensive: a second-class ticket from Prague to Brno (a distance of 200 km [124 miles]) costs about 220 Kč. A 40–60 Kč supplement is charged for the excellent international expresses, EuroCity (EC) and InterCity (IC), and for domestic SuperCity (SC) schedules. A 35 Kč supplement applies to reserved seats on domestic journeys, or up tp 250 Kč for the high-speed Pendolino train, which goes to Plzeň, Pardubice, Olomouc, and Ostrava. If you haven't bought a ticket in advance, you can buy one aboard the train, but for an extra fee. It's possible to book sleepers (lůžkový) or the less-roomy couchettes (lehátkový) on most overnight trains. You do not need to validate your train ticket before boarding.
Recently, private firms have been allowed to operate trains. Two companies, Leo Express and RegioJet, have routes from Prague to other major cities and also some international destinations. Tickets are not interchangable between companies.
The Eurail Pass and the Eurail Youthpass are valid for travel within the Czech Republic, and if you’re traveling through to neighboring countries like Hungary, Austria, or Poland, it can be an economic way to bounce between the regions. (A three-country pass starts at €385 for adults or €253 for students.) The European East Pass is also a good option for first-class travel on the national railroads of the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. The pass allows five days of unlimited travel within a one-month period for €230 for first class and €158 for second class, and it must be purchased from Rail Europe before your departure. The many Czech rail passes available are useful chiefly by regular travelers. A discount applies to any group of 2–30 people traveling second class (sleva pro skupiny). It's always cheaper to buy a return ticket. Foreign visitors will find it easiest to inquire at the international booking offices of major stations for the latest discounts and passes that will apply to them. Rail schedules are available at www.idos.cz.
Czech Railways. Prague, Praha. www.cd.cz.
Leo Express. 800–222–226; www.le.cz.
Rail Europe. 44 S. Broadway, White Plains, New York, 10601. 800/622–8600; www.raileurope.com.
RegioJet. 841–101–101; www.regiojet.cz.
Čedok. Na Příkopě 18, Nové Mesto, Prague, Praha, 110 00. 800–112–112; 221–447–777; www.cedok.cz.