RIGA - Regular passenger train service between the Latvian and Estonian capitals could be launched next year, a representative of Latvian passenger railway company Pasazieru Vilciens (Passenger Train) has said.
Passenger Train board member Ivars Zalais told the press that the company planned to resume service on the route Riga-Sigulda-Cesis-Valmiera-Valga. From Valga, which is on the Latvian-Estonian border, passengers could be transported to Tallinn in cooperation with Estonia's passenger operator.
"Estonia is open to negotiations," said Zalais.
A fast train might be put on the new route, since the distance from Riga to Valga was quite long, he said.
Passenger Train would not give any specific time when the Riga-Valga train could start running. Board Chairwoman Linda Baltina said that the company would launch the route in six months if it was ordered by the Latvian state.
Transport Minister Krisjanis Peters said earlier that the Riga-Valga train could be launched in the next few years, but it was unlikely to happen this year.
Currently there is no direct passenger railway service between Riga and Tallinn. The Riga-Valga line was functional until March 2001.
Passenger Train has recently resumed service between Riga and Liepaja in southwestern Latvia.
Last year, Passenger Train carried 25.5 million passengers, up 8.8 percent from 2004. The company is the passenger service subsidiary of the state-owned railway company Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railway).