Czech operators expand their networks

THE CZECH Republic has no fewer than three open access operators – all of which compete with national operator ČD on parts of the same main line route from Prague to Ostrava via Olomouc – and all three are expanding their operations from December.

Czech long-distance bus operator Student Agency started open access inter-city services with rail company Regiojet in 2011 between Prague and Ostrava.

Regiojet occasionally uses locos hired from other operators. Arriva own old Škoda-built electric loco No. 140 079 (dating from the mid-1950s), but have no scheduled work for it at present so lease it to other operators. Arriva-liveried No. 140 079 is seen working a Regiojet service from Havirov to Prague at Olomouc on July 10.

It has been so successful the bus company has now rebranded itself as Regiojet, and the network of rail services offered has been expanded to include Košice and Bratislava in Slovakia, plus four train pairs daily will serve Vienna in Austria from December 10.

Both the Bratislava and Vienna operations also serve the Czech Republic’s second biggest city Brno en route.

Regiojet uses loco-hauled trains – a mix of second-hand, but refurbished Swiss and Austrian coaches – plus new coaches built by Romanian rail engineering firm Astra.

Read more in December’s issue of The RM – on sale now!

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