Czech Gepard Express wins tender Brno – Vienna service over RegioJet

On February 22 last year, Gepard Express ran a train directly to Vienna Airport to demonstrate it is able to offer a direct connection Jindřich Vohnout | Wikimedia

Offering a lower price and shorter travel time, operator Gepard Express has won the tender for the direct rail connection between Brno and Vienna International Airport in favour of current operator RegioJet. Operations will start with a new timetable from June 11, 2023. 

The decision was made based on a preliminary market consultation and approved by the Brno City Council, which partly subsidises the service. RegioJet, another private operator, currently runs direct trains to and from Vienna as a six-month pilot operation. It also showed interest in operating the line, but Gepard Express was selected because it offered a lower price and a shorter travel time. Passengers will spend approximately 35 minutes less on the train than the current offers, according to the Brno City Council.

Gepard Express will offer one pair of direct train connections per day, which will be partially covered by compensation from the city of Brno. Part of the service will be the issue of a commuter ticket for public transport in Brno in addition to the train ticket, but for this some technical aspects of the interconnection of the sales systems have to be resolved.

Gepard Express is a bus and train operator, which already runs buses from Brno to the airport in Vienna. It is also known for it’s unique ‘train festivals’ under the name Vlakfest (train fest). It organises for example a four-day music and travel festival on a train called the ŽiWELL Express. The festival is now an established event where people travel around the Czech Republic and Slovakia by train. It also organised regular New Year’s Eve trips to Ukraine before the war, and in 2021 converted a carriage into a sauna carriage. It also ran a shelter train to Moravia in early July to communities affected by a tornado in the area.

While RegioJet loses this connection, the Czech private operator did recently had a success as well. From 2026, Regiojet will operate the R9 high-speed rail line between Prague and Brno via Havlíčkův Brod, currently operated by state operator Česke Drahy. It won the tender for a 15-year contract which will run from December 2026.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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