Leo Express, a Czech private transport operator, is likely to postpone the launch of trains on the route Prague - Krakow - Przemysl - Medyka (Polish-Ukrainian border) from March to June 2020.

The CFTS portal reported this, citing information published in the Polish media.

The postponement is because the Polish railway infrastructure operator, PKP PLK, did not include the new railway route in the train timetable for March. Therefore, Leo Express is now hoping to launch trains on the new route in June.

“PKP PLK, which controls the movement of trains on Polish routes, did not accept our proposal to include specific train departure hours in the timetable. We could still have tried to launch our train service faster, but repairs on the Rzeszow – Przemysl section are planned for the second quarter. That would also hinder us. That is why we will try to reach agreement with PKP PLK on the next train timetable, and we hope that the first trains will begin operating on the Medyka – Prague route in June," said Juraj Andrejka, the managing director for the Polish and Ukrainian markets at Leo Express.

As previously reported, the Czech company received permission to operate trains on this route from the Polish Railway Administration last year. However, the winter train timetable had already been approved when the permission was granted, as a result of which Leo Express trains were not included in Poland’s domestic train timetable. Therefore, Leo Express said it hoped to fit its trains into the timetable during adjustment of the timetable in mid-March.

As the CFTS portal reported earlier, the permission granted by the Polish Railway Administration allows the Czech operator to operate four pairs of trains daily for the next five years (until December 10, 2024). In Poland, the carrier was granted the right to stop its trains at 17 stations, including Katowice, Krakow, Tarnow, Rzeszow, and Przemysl.

At the beginning of 2019, Leo Express announced that it saw extension of the route to Ukraine (to the Mostyska border station in the Lviv region) as a priority. However, for this, Leo Express must resolve the issue of access to the Ukrainian railway infrastructure with the Ukrainian Railways joint-stock company (Ukrzaliznytsia) and the issue of border control with Ukraine’s State Border Service.

RegioJet, the largest private train operator in the Czech Republic, applied to the Polish Railway Administration for permission to launch trains on the Prague – Przemysl – Medyka (on the Ukrainian border) route at the end of 2019.