HAVING retained responsibility for inter-regional trains when the specification and funding of loss-making local services was passed to regional authorities in 2005, the Czech Ministry of Transport has awarded incumbent CD a contract to operate Liberec - Pardubice trains from December.

The other bidders to operate the 161 km route were Viamont and Veolia, who said they were considering challenging the results of the prolonged tendering process, claiming the subsidy requested by CD was unrealistically low.

There are now 16 operators licensed to run regional services in the Czech Republic, and they are increasingly expressing interest in franchises covering national routes.

In July the Liberec authorities cancelled tendering of a five-year franchise for three local lines, which will remain with CD. n