The 160km/h type MS2E locomotives were assembled at Bombardier’s plant in Kassel, Germany, and are now undergoing acceptance testing at the VUZ test track at Velim.

Regiojet plans to introduce the Traxx locomotives next month on its international services from Prague to Košice, Bratislava and Vienna. Regiojet will be the first operator to use Traxx locomotives for passenger services on the Czech network.

Regiojet awarded Bombardier a contract last year to supply eight of the locomotives, with an option for 20 more. The first four units are due to be delivered by the end of June.

Regiojet currently operates a fleet of eight Siemens class 193 Vectron electric locomotives, including five units from Vienna-based European Locomotive Leasing (ELL) and three from Czech freight operator Lokotrain. The latter are on a short-term lease and will be returned to Lokotrain when the Traxx enter service.

Regiojet plans to retain the five ELL Vectrons, together with its fleet of Škoda 3kV dc class 162 locomotives.

In addition to new traction, Regiojet is expanding its rolling stock fleet with the addition of six new coaches from Astra Vagoane Calatori, Romania. The first two vehicles are due to be delivered next month.

Strong growth

Meanwhile, Regiojet has reported a 30% increase in passenger numbers in the first quarter of 2018. The operator carried around 1.25 million passengers in this period, with the introduction of new Prague - Brno - Vienna services at the end of 2017 helping to stimulate growth. In combination with the Prague - Brno - Bratislava services, these trains give Regiojet nine trains a day in each direction between Prague and Brno, one of the country’s most important domestic inter-city routes. Regiojet says more than 200,000 passengers have travelled to Vienna on its trains since December.

A 10th service will be introduced on the Prague - Brno corridor at the end of September, when Regiojet will add a fourth daily return train between Prague and Bratislava.