České dráhy launches converted buffet cars
Czech state-owned rail operator České dráhy has entered into service three upgraded buffet cars with first-class passenger sections. The wagons were converted from old dining wagons. The buffet cars are included into the eastbound trains running from Prague to Opava. Totally, České dráhy plans to retrofit 27 old dining and buffet cars.
The former dining cars were converted into the combined wagons with the first-class passenger sections equipped with comfortable leather armchairs and a gastronomic section with a kitchen and mini-bar for cooking foods and drinks. The wagons were also modified with a new air-conditioning system, sockets and USB ports to charge the electronic devices and access to Wi-Fi connection. The modernised buffet cars provide service for passengers of two classes. The travellers in the first-class sections can use a gastronomic service directly in the wagon. The passengers running in the second-class wagons can use the buffet cars as mini-bar or fast-food service.
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Interior of České dráhy buffet cars, source: České dráhy.
The modernisation of the buffet wagons was launched last autumn. It is being provided by DPOV company, a rolling stock maintenance and repair subsidiary of České dráhy. “The conversion of the dining coaches into buffet cars with the first-class sections fit into our plan to upgrade the long-distance connections and extend the onboard services on them. Gradually we want to modify 27 old dining and buffet cars. It is a compromise that represents a significant reduction in the cost of running long-distance trains in the public service obligation, but also in our commercial connections,” said Petr Vondráček, director of the long-distance department of České dráhy.
Currently, three retrofitted buffet cars are included into the InterCity train ‘Opavan’ that runs from Prague to Opava via Pardubice, Olomouc, Ostrava several times a day. In December, the converted buffet wagons will be added to two express trains – ‘Valašský expres’ (Wallachian express) running between Prague and Žilina (Slovakia) and ‘Jižní expres’ (South express) that connects Prague with Linz (Austria) via České Budějovice, as well as to the EuroCity train ‘Cracovia’ that links Prague and Krakow (Poland). The fleet of České dráhy includes 33 dining and 23 buffet cars to be operated on long-distance routes.