Pendolino makes bad start in the Czech Republic
The first Pendolino train was expected to arrive in the Czech Republic in a blaze of glory. Known for speed and comfort it was to open a new chapter in the history of Czech rail transport. But, the "Super city trains" were delivered late -for which their Italian producer Alstom has paid a huge fine - and much to everyone's surprise, once here, they made a bad start in the Czech Republic.
All in all a poor show, and a major humiliation for transport minister Milan Simonovsky, especially when it emerged that the Czech side had signed a highly disadvantageous contract, which did not allow it to penalize Alstom properly for the million crown losses incurred.
"I shall ask the company chairman to investigate the circumstances which led to the signing of such a contract and consider whether someone should not bear responsibility for it. This sort of thing must never happen again."
In the meantime, Czech Railways, which has replaced the four Pendolinos with regular trains on both tracks, can only hope that Alstom will deliver on its promise. And in order to find out just where it stands legally it has asked the Deloitte and Touche agency to look into the purchasing contract and ascertain how much of its losses can be covered by the penalty clause. As for the Pendolino, its reputation has suffered a bad blow and Czech railways is now trying to entice clients with special discounts which will remain in force some time after all seven trains are -hopefully - back on track.