State-Run ZSSK Introduces Three New IC Trains to Kosice, Scraps One

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Bratislava, January 26 (TASR) – State-run rail passenger carrier Zeleznicna Spolocnost Slovensko (ZSSK) will introduce three pairs of new InterCity (IC) trains on the Bratislava-Kosice route as of  February, ZSSK economic director Patrik Horny told a news conference in Bratislava on Thursday.

Meanwhile, ZSSK will scrap one of its current pairs of express IC trains that is currently serving on the route. Four pairs of trains will thus be available to passengers, compared to the current five (including those currently operated by the private rail carrier RegioJet but slated to be withdrawn).

ZSSK announced it will assess these trains in the upcoming months, admitting that these trains might be reduced with the June modification of the train timetable. “If there’s not enough passengers, the number of IC trains on the route will probably be reduced,” said Horny.

The additional IC trains should make up for the RegioJet trains that will be withdrawn from this route as of February. Three new IC trains will stop at all stations that the private RegioJet has up to now. On the Bratislava-Kosice route, they will thus stop in Trnava, Trencin, Zilina, Vrutky (Zilina region), Ruzomberok (Zilina region), Liptovsky Mikulas (Zilina region), Strba (Presov region), Poprad-Tatry (Presov region), Spisska Nova Ves (Kosice region) and Kysak (Kosice region). The additional IC trains should connect the west and east of Slovakia in 5 hours and 11 minutes.

One current pair of express IC trains will keep serving the route and make it in 4 hours and 42 minutes. However, they will only stop in Trnava, Zilina, Poprad-Tatry and Kysak.

ZSSK currently operates two pairs of such express trains; however, one of them will be scrapped as of February 1. “Our plan was to have two express trains; however, we have to cancel one of them now,” stated Horny.

ZSSK operates IC trains without a state subsidy. The company would like to eventually get this service in black digits. With the original model (not considering additional trains), the carrier estimated IC trains to have a loss of about €1 million in the first year of operation. ZSSK is currently talking about a loss of €3 million for the first year. After re-evaluating and adjusting this product, the carrier would like this service be profitable in three to four years.

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