In yesterday’s announcement, the open access operator Leo Express confirmed that they seek to expand their operations beyond the Czech Republic towards Poland and even Germany. As explained in the IRJ article the rolling stock could come from CRRC as they signed an agreement with Leo Express for 3 EMUs and 27 options.
After the deal with Macedonia from 2014 this is CRRC’s second passenger rolling stock deal in the EU and can be consider an important stepping stone towards bidding and gaining projects in the attractive but heavily contested Western European markets.
According to the article, CRRC is even opening a subsidiary in Vienna and engaging in a cooperation with the Technische Universität Graz.
The new EMUs could possibly be multi system trains, being able to operate on the Czech 3KV and 25KV 50Hz networks. It can only be assumed that they will carefully review previous homologation challenges regarding signalling in the Czech. This would open up large parts of Central Europe to CRRC.
For Skoda, Pesa and Newag which have a cost advantage against the Western European OEMs this move will take away this differentiator as we can expect CRRC to supply trains for an even lower price.