Poland’s Office of Rail Transport (UTK) granted Leo Express the open access for passenger railway services on the Prague – Terespol route, the operator being able to conduct operational activities across Poland, with passenger trains originating in Prague and reaching the Polish-Belarussian border.
The decision allows Leo Express to proceed with four pairs of trains operating on a daily basis and is to be valid for the next 5 years.
The operator will serve 17 stations including two stations in Katowice, three stations in Warsaw, Mińsk Mazowiecki, Łuków and Terespol stations. The open access was granted as requested in the operator’s application, until 10 December 2024.
“Let me express my satisfaction that I have been able to issue another open access administrative decision. Enhancing competition in the Polish railway system should bring profits especially for passengers,” Ignacy Góra, the President of UTK said.
During administrative proceedings UTK had received applications from the Ministry of Infrastructure, PKP Intercity and Przewozy Regionalne, with regard to the examination of economic balance for this route in comparison to Leo Express’s application. Aside from that such stakeholders as Koleje Mazowieckie, Warsaw’s Public Transport Administration, PKP PLK and the marshal of Mazowieckie voivodship have also submitted their positions on the proposed new connection.
The examination’s result has shown that opening of the services by Leo Express should supplement transport offer on the territory of the Mazowieckie, Śląskie, Świętokrzyskie, Łódzkie and Lubelskie voivodships.
Leo Express’ new service should address unfulfilled needs of passengers, especially regarding transfers with destination on the territory of another country. In case of any modernisation and renovation works however the operation of Leo Express trains may not lower the traffic capacity of trains, which are important with regard to social and economic interest of Poland.
The decision also determines that the carrier conduct the operations with frequency and on the complete route as applied for in the operator’s application. The carrier may only withhold operations when the lack of possibility of railway operations is the result of circumstances beyond the operator’s control.
In November 2019, Poland granted Leo Express the access on Prague – Medyka line for a period of 5 years, operating four pairs of trains across the route.
In 2017, Leo Express obtained the permit to operate the Krakow – Prague route, being the first private rail passenger operator in Poland.