The state-owned passenger service operator AS Eesti Liinirongid, operating under the Elron brand, announced on Wednesday that the construction of the first new Skoda passenger trains for them is nearing completion, and in the late spring of next year the manufacturer will bring the first trains to Estonia for test runs.
Elron CEO Lauri Betlem said that the introduction of the new trains from 2025 will gradually solve the shortage of rolling stock for Estonia and allow Elron to start adding more departures to timetables as the new trains arrive in Estonia.
He said that there has been a very sharp increase in the number of train passengers in Estonia over the past decade and the country has now reached a situation where the mobility needs of passengers exceed the capacity of the train fleet.
“The new Skoda trains will start to fill this gap, and when the infrastructure owner AS Eesti Raudtee has electrified the Tallinn-Tartu track, the first trains will start to serve passengers on the Tartu route,” the CEO said.
Martin Bednarz, director of Skoda Group’s Ostrava plant, said that the work on the trains being built for Estonia is on schedule.
“We are in the process of finishing the construction of the first train, which will be soon transported to Plzen for the first tests. In the late spring of next year, we will bring the first trains to Estonia for trial runs,” he said, adding that the plan is to hand over six new trains to Elron by the end of 2024.
On Tuesday, the Elron steering group for the construction of the new trains took a look at the current state of the first two trains in production at the plant in Ostrava, the Czech Republic. Viljar Luhthein, Elron’s project manager for the new trains, said that two passenger trains are currently under construction at the Ostrava plant, which will arrive in Estonia for trial runs in spring 2024. The trials of the two trains must confirm that the trains are fully suitable for the Estonian track, he added.
In 2024-2027, a total of 16 brand new passenger trains will arrive in Estonia. The six long-distance trains to be added to Elron’s fleet at the end of 2024 will start serving the Tallinn-Tartu route. The long-distance trains have a total of 236 seats, of which 32 are first class seats. Five more long-distance trains will be delivered in 2025. Five regional trains will be added to the Elron fleet in 2026, which will start serving the eastbound route. The regional trains have 263 seats and no first class.
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