Analysis: Tallinn-Tartu-Riga train traffic not to be cost-effective

  • 2012-05-01

TALLINN - Restoring train traffic between Tallinn and Riga via Tartu would not be cost-effective without state subsidies while the Tallinn-St. Petersburg direction would reach profits, an analysis commissioned by the economy ministry indicates, reports Public Broadcasting.

The Riga-Valka and Valga-Tallinn trains meet in the Valga station now but there are very few people using the possibility of switching from one to the other train, which is understandable, considering that it would take over 8 hours to reach from Tallinn to Riga.

OU Positium, that compiled the study, based it on the assumption that the travelling time would be around 4.5 hours, three trains a day would depart from both Riga and Tallinn and there would be stops at Tallinn, Tartu, Tapa and Riga, traffic speed would be 120 km/h and new trains would be used.

The conclusion was that the route would not be profitable either businesswise or social-economically, even if the transport company received new trains for free. The train would be profitable if the state's subsidy in Estonia would be 2.4 million euros a year or there were 40% more passengers or tickets by 40 percent more expensive.

"While the Tallinn-Riga bus trip is 311 km long, taking a train via Tartu makes it 441 km long. When we speak of costs, then it is understandable that a bus company that takes the shorter route has smaller costs than the train company," said OU Positium working group member Rein Riisalu.

The Tallinn-St. Petersburg train route with two departures a day from each city would be profitable, according to the study. The travelling speed would have to be raised and the time needed for border crossing shortened though.