Many people had told us that bus was the best form of transport for getting around the Czech Republic, and for many routes the journey is faster and cheaper if you travel by bus than by train. However, when looking into a trip from Olomouc to Prague recently, we found that both price and duration were very similar for both methods of transport, and that one particular train company won (by a narrow margin) on both measures.
Leo Express is a new company offering long-distance express train services in the Czech Republic, and since there were only two or three stops and the train reached speeds of over 150km/h, the journey took only two hours and fifteen minutes, compared to the 2.5 hours that the Czech Railways train, the Student Agency bus, and the RegioJet train took. Fifteen minutes isn’t enough of a time saving to worry about if the ticket was more expensive, but it turned out to be marginally cheaper: 206kc vs 220kc for most of the other options (Czech Railways started at 220kc but also had a lot of more expensive options too).
On the platform, an attendant in a smart uniform checked our tickets and directed us to our seats, which were clean and comfortable with lots of leg room. We were pleased to see that there was free wifi, and noticed that a range of videos were available to watch during the journey.
The attendant came around to offer us food or drink, and pointed out the price list so that we could make our choice. We didn’t buy anything, but the prices seemed reasonable and many other patrons had hot drinks and sandwiches served at their seats.
There was a short delay at one point; we arrived at one of the intermediary stations about ten minutes late, but this time was recuperated in the next leg and we actually arrived in Prague a minute or two early. The attendants stood by the doors to say goodbye, airline-style, and we headed off to explore Prague.
On the whole, our experience with Leo Express was fantastic, on par with or better than similar services in Austria and Germany — and a far cry from the average level of service offered by Czech Railways.