Leo Express to deploy new trains from China

Sirius train units, photo: archive of Leo Express

The private Czech train and bus operator Leo Express is set to deploy new trains, manufactured by the Chinese company CRRC, the Czech News Agency reported on Wednesday. The new Sirius train units should start operating next year. The total value of the investment, which includes the delivery of three units and an option for 30 more, exceeds five billion crowns.

Sirius train units,  photo: archive of Leo Express
The first three trains, provided by the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturer CRRC, arrived in Europe this Wednesday. They will be transported to the Czech Republic to undergo a certification process at the Railway Research Institute’s testing circuit in Velim.

The new trains will operate on domestic and international routes in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. In the future, Leo Express plans to expand their operation to other European countries.

Several Czech design studios took part in designing the new trains, with almost 20 percent of components coming from domestic contractors.

According to Leo Express, the train units are so-called hybrid-ready, which means they will be able to operate anywhere on the Central European rails.

The units have barrier-free entrance, space for luggage, skis and bicycles as well as space for recycling bins. Passengers will be able to choose between different classes, and a special kids’ section will also be available.

The company currently operates five Intercity FLIRT units by Sadler on the line from Prague to Ostrava and Košice.

Apart from obtaining the new CRRC trains, it is currently also finishing modifications of 15 diesel units LINT, leased from the manufacturer Alstom. They are set to operate in the Pardubice and Zlín regions.

The private passenger rail operator transported some 1.25 million passengers in the first half of 2019, which is an increase of around half a million on the previous year.

The company’s turnover reached nearly half a billion crowns, which represents an annual increase of 185 million. In 2018, Leo Express showed profit for the first time since it started operating in 2013, amounting to 2.5 million crowns.