CZECH Railways (ČD) reported a successful year in 2023, recording a pre-tax profit of Koruna 3.8bn ($US 160m). This is a substantial increase on the Koruna 400m achieved the previous year.

In 2023 ČD carried 164.4 million passengers, 7.3 million more than in 2022. ČD’s passenger division generated a pre-tax profit of Koruna 623m in 2023, a year-on-year improvement of Koruna 751m. The increase was driven by passenger revenue, which was Koruna 1.3bn higher.

Freight division ČD Cargo generated a pre-tax profit of Koruna 733m, a year-on-year increase of Koruna 423m. This uptick was driven by growth in operations outside the Czech Republic, and particularly in Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

In contrast, domestic freight volumes fell substantially in 2023, with ČD Cargo carrying around 59.4 million tonnes, a year-on-year decrease of 4.8 million tonnes. Domestic rail freight was particularly hit by a sharp decline in movements of fossil fuels to power stations. However, ČD is now developing the transport of biomass, solid alternative fuels, waste and other products of the circular economy, which are expected to partially replace lost coal traffic.

ČD Group undertook a record amount of investment in 2023, a total of Koruna 11bn, much of which was spent on fleet modernisation. More than 50 new or refurbished vehicles were put into service, including RegioPanter EMUs, RegioShuttle RS1 railcars and Vectron locomotives. The year also saw continuous production of RegioFox DMUs and ComfortJet passenger coaches, which are scheduled for delivery later this year.

On April 24 ČD announced that Slovakia-based Rolling Stock Lease has won the tender to finance 50 Vectron multi-voltage 200 km/h locomotives. The locomotives will be operated by ČD within the Czech Republic and in surrounding countries.

“Last year was a period of extraordinary success for our company and confirmed that our strategy was correct,” says Mr Michal Krapinec, chairman of the board of directors and director general of ČD. “The years from 2020 to 2022 were a difficult test for the entire business sector, but we stood up to it and achieved a profit of almost Koruna 4bn.”