Leo Express plans Prague to Berlin train

The private rail company will be expanding its service

Private rail carrier Leo Express plans to expand to Germany and Poland. The company has asked the Czech authorities for approval of a line between Prague and Berlin. In addition, it wants to expand its service in Poland.

Leo Express is known in the Czech Republic mainly for train connections between Prague and Ostrava. It has been operating in Germany since last year. In August, it took over German rail carrier Locomore and operates a connection between Berlin and Stuttgart. Completing the route from Berlin to Prague will join both markets.

The Leo Express railway business in Germany will be linked to bus operator Flixbus for marketing support. The Locomore brand name, which Leo Express has been using, will be phased out.

Some 10 percent of Leo Express’s passengers are from Poland. Leo Express already has service to Krakow. The company also wants to add connections to Wrocław and Warsaw. Leo Express CEO Peter Köhler said the company was awaiting approval but the service could start in the second half of this year.

For the expansion, Leo Express will be leasing trains such as LINT diesel units from the Italian manufacturer Alstom, articulated GTW trains from the Swiss manufacturer Stadler and other trains.

In December 2016, the company ordered three trains from Chinese manufacturer CRRC. The first of these should arrive in a year and undergo testing before it is put in operation.

Leo Express was established in 2010 and began service at the end of 2012, but has been operating at a loss. In 2016, it lost Kč 110 million. The operation has been profitable in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, while in Poland and Germany the company has been struggling with operating losses.

This year, the company expects to increase revenue by half, mainly due to the introduction of the new lines. A train that was damaged in an accident in June 2017 should also go back into service.

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