TALLINN – Eesti Liinirongid AS, the state-owned Estonian operator of passenger trains that conducts its business under the Elron brand, has announced a public procurement for the purchase of six dual system electric trains with the option to buy an additional 10 trains in the future.
"As the number of passengers in Estonian train traffic is growing every month and the popular routes are crowded with people, we and the passengers are already waiting for the new trains to arrive. Unfortunately, we still have to be patient as new trains will start operating on an electrified Tallinn-Tartu railway section, which will be completed in December 2024," Elron CEO Merike Saks said in a press release.
There will be more seats on the new trains and Elron also plans to use the seating relocation option to respond more flexibly to passengers' expectations. "In the summer months, we want more space for bicycles at the expense of movable seating, while allowing more passengers to sit down in fall and winter," Saks said.
According to the Elron CEO, the procurement has also taken into account passenger feedback to make the seats more comfortable and softer as well as that there be hot drinks and light snacks on the new trains.
"As far as the technical criteria are concerned, it is important to note that the trains to be procured are dual system electric trains operating in both the area of the old plant for transforming and carrying electric power for train haulage and along the new electrified railway sections," Saks said. She added that while it is difficult to attract train manufacturers with such a small order, potential bidders are Stadler, the manufacturer of Estonia's current trains, and, for example, Skoda, which is building similar trains for Estonia's southern neighbor, Latvia.
"The maximum length of the trains is 85 meters -- primarily due to the maintenance facilities at our depot," Saks said, adding that train manufacturers would definitely be more inclined to supply more trains at a time, as each batch is designed and built according to the rail infrastructure of that country. The smaller the quantity, the more expensive the trains are, as the cost of designing and setting up the factories to produce the train is over one million euros.
"Estonia has a wider railway, wider and lower train wagons than most other countries. So our trains are tailored namely to our needs," Saks said.
The deadline for participation in the tender is June 1, 2020 and the expected delivery time for the trains is scheduled for the second half of 2024.