Leo Express wants to compete on Warsaw-Krakow route

(photo Miroslav Volek via license flickr)

The Czech private company Leo Express wants to compete with the Polish PKP on the Warsaw – Krakow route. Trains would run up to twelve times a day by December 2020 if the Rail Transport Authority (UTK) decides to give it the required approval.

Leo Express passes the higher speed and want to compete with national traffic. In its request to the Polish State Railways Authority UTK, the Czech company states that the new routes would benefit Polish and foreign tourists.

The company plans to operate the new routes with Stadler Flirt trains, which are used in the Czech Republic but are approved for traffic in Poland. The schedule provides for a maximum of six return trips, or 12 train paths in total. This rail link between Warsaw and Krakow is currently operated by PKP Intercity every hour. « This is not our first traffic in Poland, because we are already going from Krakow to Prague and we have permission to travel from the Czech Republic to Medyka, on the border between Poland and Ukraine, » said Juraj Andrejka, spokesperson for Leo Express.

The big unknown is how long Leo Express will have to wait to see his application reviewed by the UTK office. Theoretically, there is no predetermined deadline for approving connections, which is a bad surprise for the project.

Entering the Polish domestic market dominated by PKP Intercity is in any case a novelty. Czech competition is certainly not in the interest of PKP Intercity, which is negotiating with the Ministry of Infrastructure for the signing of a long-term contract. In this context, the company could receive a subsidy of 19 billion zlotys (€4.45 billion) over the next 10 years, the country being a follower of subsidized large-scale traffics.

Leo-Express knows Poland well. A Prague-Warsaw route has already been in existence since June 2019 and from this weekend a round trip will be made every Saturday and Sunday between Prague and Wroclaw, in Lower Silesia, for tourists. These traffic are run by Stadler Flirt Emus acquired by the company and approved for both countries.

(Lok-Report, Polsat news and Gazeta)

(photo Dariusz Sieczkowski via license flickr)