More profits and traffic for Leo Express

Leo Express, the second-largest Czech private company operating in the main line segment, made a small profit of more than CZK 2.5 million in 2018, or €97,000, profit before tax and depreciation amounting to €3.48 million. For the first half of 2019, EBIT is already 58% higher than last year and sales are growing and reached around €31 million in 2018. For this year it is expected to reach €39 million and half of this amount would have been almost achieved in the first half. This growth is due in part to the strengthening of operations in Germany (with Flixtrain), the return to service of the fifth Flirt Emu (crashed in 2017) and the new connection to Krakow in Poland, where Leo Express became the first private passenger carrier between the Czech Republic and Poland.

These figures could seem funny, but Leo-Express operates only twenty trains a day, using a mini fleet of five FLIRT Stadler Emu in Intercity mainline configuration, classified as Class 480 in the Czech Republic. The staff has only 260 employees, which could put the company in the category of railway SMEs. For this first half of 2019, the company transported 1.25 million passengers. Leo Express can hope to reach 3 million annually if the good performance of traffic is confirmed. On a national level, Leo-Express has only a 1.29% of the railway mainline market share, compared to 8.03% for the other private competitor, Regiojet.

First Class from Leo Express inside FLIRT Stadler Emu (photo Dariusz Sieczkowski via license flickr)

Leo Express also announced the growth of its fleet of rolling stock. The first Chinese CRRC Emu arrives by boat and is expected to begin certification at Velim. During the first phase, these units will be deployed on national and international routes in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. Subsequently, Leo Express plans a development in other European countries, but so far has not published the routes envisaged.

Leo Express operates on the international Prague-Krakow (PL) routes, as well as with two trains (including one nightrain), between Prague and Košice, in the east of Slovakia, a major tourist attraction at the foot of Tatras Mountains. Otherwise its main traffic is on the major Prague-Ostrava-Bohumin route.

Like Regiojet, in order to increase its revenues, the company is now also looking for public service delegations. « From December 2019, we will start our public service delegation contract in the Pardubice region and also in the Zlín region with our partner. For these contracts, Leo Express completes the modifications of the 15 Coradia LINT units leased to Alstom (photo). We will bring the quality of Leo Express services to the regional services » says Jakub Svoboda, Managing Director of Leo Express for the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Coradia LINT from Alstom with livery of Leo Express, for new regional contract (photo Leo-Express)

The company is also a candidate for other regional services, such as in the region of Olomouc and Prague. For these contracts, the company would have calculated that it needed twenty-nine 3kV / 25kV Emus. There are no orders yet. Meanwhile, we can already see at this link the first Coradia LINT released a few days ago in Leo Express livery.

Finally, we must not forget the operational assistance provided by Leo Express to Flixtrain on the Berlin-Stuttgart route, from the former Locomore. The Czech company is in charge of managing the operations and fleet, which is not the business of Flixmobility. This assistance contract is said to be at the origin of the increase in revenues mentioned above. It also gives Leo Express the perfect opportunity to understand the German railway culture. Before next launches? We don’t know today…

One of the five FLIRT Emu (photo Miroslav Volek via license flickr)