RIGA - Deliveries of new electric passenger trains to Latvia might be delayed because of the war in Ukraine, and it will be necessary to find alternative delivery routes to the original ones that were supposed to cross Ukraine and Belarus, as rail tracks in these countries have the necessary gauge, Rodzers Janis Grigulis, CEO of Pasazieru Vilciens rail company, told LETA.
The head of the rail company said he keeps in touch with representatives of train supplier Skoda on a daily basis.
"At present, they have problems purchasing certain components. There is also a question about delivering the trains to Latvia. According to the original plan, the trains had to be delivered from Czechia via Ukraine and Belarus, as the track gauge there is the same as in Latvia. Now it has become impossible, so alternative delivery options are being considered," Grigulis said.
He noted, however, that all these issues are the manufacturer's risk.
Grigulis also said that Skoda bought up a large amount of metal already before the war and it is now being stored at Skoda's warehouses, which means that a significant part of the components have been purchased already. However, a train does not consist only of large metal parts and also has many small components.
"We will still have many discussions on how the current situation will affect the further manufacturing of trains. But there are indications already that there will be delays. Their length will depend on Skoda's ability to find alternatives quickly," said Grigulis.
As reported, on February 23, the day before Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Skoda Vagonka CEO Martin Bednarz told journalists that the first electric trains might be delivered to Latvia for testing in March or April. Skoda Vagonka has pledged to deliver all 32 new electric passenger trains to Pasazieru Vilciens the end of 2023.
"Starting in May, we will be delivering the trains so that passengers could start using them already in the summer," Bednarz said.