Bratislava, December 11 (TASR) – The InterCity (IC) train service has been resumed on the route between Bratislava and Kosice less than one year after it was scrapped, with the first train being dispatched from the Slovak capital at 9.47 a.m. on Sunday.
“It will be the fastest and the most comfortable connection between the two cities,” Filip Hlubocky, the general director of state-run passenger carrier Zeleznicna Spolocnost Slovensko (ZSSK), told a news conference held at the Bratislava Main Station on the occasion of the service’s resumption on Sunday.
Hlubocky reported that the first IC trains have been sold out for up to 70 percent of their capacity. ZSSK trains in general are in high demand, with almost all the trains being already sold out 13 days to Christmas. Therefore, the carrier will add some extra carriages in its trains, which also applies to IC trains. “This is something that gives us hope and a confirmation of the fact that the decision to resume the IC train service was right,” stated Hlubocky.
“It’s not a new project; however, we want it to be viable. We must be faster, cleaner and more comfortable, and then people will come and use these trains,” stated Transport, Construction and Regional Development Minister Arpad Ersek (Most-Hid).
“Scrapping the IC train service was a hastened step,” said Parliamentary Chairman Andrej Danko (Slovak National Party/SNS). He believes that Slovakia deserves such a connection between Bratislava and Kosice. “This is the first small step towards ZSSK making much bigger investments. An investment framework for renewing the ZSSK fleet has already been promised now,” added Danko.
IC trains are returning to the Slovak rails as of Sunday when the new train timetable takes effect. Two pairs of IC trains will operate on the Bratislava-Kosice route on a daily basis. Trains in both directions will stop at stations in Trnava, Zilina, Poprad (Presov region) and Kysak (Kosice region). They should cover the distance between the Slovak capital and the ‘metropolis of the East’ [Kosice] in 4 hours and 42 minutes.
ZSSK believes that IC trains should make a profit as early as in the first year of operation. “Concerning economic results, we expect the product as such to get into the black in three to four years,” said Hlubocky.
The IC train service in Slovakia was scrapped in January based on a decision made by then transport minister Jan Pociatek (Smer-SD). The reason given was that the trains were losing money.