News site: Transfer of ownership of train stations to put focus on outlets’ contracts

Photo: Filip Jandourek

Following the transfer of around 1,500 train stations around the Czech Republic to a new owner later this month, the focus won’t just be on the state of the buildings themselves: Contracts with newsagents, bakeries and other outlets are also set to come up for review.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
The Railway Infrastructure Administration (RIA), which oversees the country’s dense rail network, will completely take over the Czech Republic’s 1,500 or so train stations from current owners Czech Railways – another state body – at the end of August.

Once this happens, the RIA will launch an inspection of all of those buildings. But it will also, the news website reported on Monday, examine the existing contracts to run refreshments stands, news agents, baked goods outlets and vending machines at station buildings.

This will see the spotlight turned on long-term contracts with big companies, including Lagardere, JLV and Delikomat, said.

A spokesperson for the RIA, Kateřina Šubová, told that once the handover of the stations had been completed an analysis would take place of individual contracts with a view to setting the boundaries of further cooperation.

Ms. Šubová said she did not want to speculate as to the outcome of that review but said one result could be a process of renegotiating conditions.

While she refused to reveal details of individual contracts, she said the figures involved were in the tens of millions of crowns a year.

A number of chains extended their contracts to the year 2029 prior to Czech Railways’ transfer of the stations to the RIA. This was done on the basis of amendments to deals dating back to 2004, when tender processes were held.

Among those up for review will be a contract with JLV, formerly known as Jídelní a lůžkové vozy, or Dining and Sleeping Cars). It has provided catering services to Czech Railways for many years and signed a new six-year deal this spring.

For their part, the operators say they do not fear a contract review process, reported. Jiří Marek of vending machines market leader Delikomat told the news site his firm was always ready to sit down with business partners.

Meanwhile, JLV boss Bohumír Bárta said his company had already been in talks with the RIA and expects the new owner to overhaul or even rebuild shabby stations.

Richard Kalhous of Lagardere – which runs Relay and Costa Coffee – said his firm also hoped the change in ownership would mean investment in reconstruction. Lagardere would be interested in projects stemming from station overhauls, he told