RIGA - Railcar manufacturer ‘Rigas vagonbuves rupnica’ (RVR) hopes to supply modern trains to all the former Soviet Union republics, in collaboration with the rail equipment manufacturer Bombardier Transport France S.A.S., says RVR co-owner Valerijs Igaunis in an interview with the newspaper Latvijas Avize, reports Nozare.lv. “We realize that we will not be able to continue to exist with products from the last century.”
Igaunis continues, saying that “There are two ways to achieve the level of railroad car manufacturing of the European Union. The first is to struggle on our own. That is, with our own engineers, produce new equipment and machinery, create entirely new railroad car designs, and the like. That is the path of a rather long evolution, which will also require the state to put in some effort, for instance in training. We have not rejected this possibility, we keep it in mind, but we have chosen another way. That is, we have developed cooperation with a Western European company that has proven itself, and this cooperation is beneficial for both sides.”
Bombardier operates in 60 countries. The company has managed, in a comparatively short period of two years, to develop an innovative product, to sell to RVR rail car manufacturing licenses and production technology, and to train the workers.
“Now we have people in Latvia who can produce the most up-to-date ‘AGC’ trains, using modern technology. With this cooperation model we will be able to begin manufacture of trains in the near future, but the most important thing is to supply these trains to the entire territory of the former Soviet Union, where the rail track width is the same as in Latvia. If we manage to do this, it will also improve the foreign trade balance of the country,” said Igaunis. He adds that the most important provision in the ‘Pasazieru vilciens’ (Passenger Train) company’s procurement of new electric and diesel trains is the condition on train maintenance over the next 30 years, which increases the total amount of the contract to 1 billion euros.
“If we build trains then, for instance, we buy flooring material in Latvia; Latvian producers can also make seats for our trains. In June, representatives from Bombardier will meet with experts from ‘Rigas elektromasinbuves rupnica’ to discuss the possibility of manufacturing electric train engines in Latvia, too. If they succeed, this plant will also become more competitive as compared with other producers. We will strive to collaborate with Latvian producers. Of course, all of the 20,000 parts needed for one train will not be produced in Latvia. It is much less expensive to buy time-tested products from those producers that specialize in making these products,” explained Igaunis.
In July Bombardier will have completed production of 700 new trains for the French national railroad company, which is when it will be able to transfer its production equipment to Latvia, Igaunis added.