Private intercity operator starts service in Prague

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PRAGUE – A new passenger rail operator, called Leo Express, started operation in the Czech Republic over a 219-mile route from Prague to the major industrial city of Ostrava, located near the border with Poland. The new operator is operating 16 services a day using new 100 mph electric multiple unit trains built by Swiss firm Stadler. The trains are fitted with three classes of passenger accommodation. There’s room for six in a spacious premium class, 19 in business class, and 212 in economy.

Private equity investment company Aakon Capital, who also operates a rail vehicle leasing business for other operators, is backing Leo Express. The company has already discussed possible expansion of Leo Express services to reach Vienna. In total, US$376 million has been invested in new equipment and trains. The new trains were due to start on Dec. 9, but all of the necessary arrangements were made in advance, so the service started a few days early in late November. While rail competition is still rare in Europe, the Prague to Ostrava route now hosts three operators: Leo Express, state operator Czech Railways, and another new private company known as Regiojet.
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