Inspectors Green-Light New Diesel Trains ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

The fleet of Stadler FLIRT diesel trains that Elektriraudtee plans to introduce to the nation's inter-city passenger lines next year have passed a six-month testing process and received final approval for use.

The Technical Surveillance Authority announced today that the diesel-type trains, like the Stadler FLIRT electric commuter trains that began service in July, had met all Estonian and EU technical requirements.

Tests were geared toward looking at how the trains would operate on the local rail network and their suitability for the Estonian climate, the authority said in a statement.

Particular attention was given to safety issues, such as braking system effectiveness and driving stability, as well as to passenger features such as how easy it is for people with reduced mobility to board - a difficulty with the currently-operating diesel trains.

The 20 diesel trains, which Elektriraudtee has leased from Stadler Bussnang AG, are scheduled to go into service at the beginning of next year when the state-owned company takes over operation of the inter-city passenger lines from Edelaraudtee.

Though Elektriraudtee has pledged to offer more comfort and more frequent connections from next year, the new trains will not be able to travel at full speed, 140-160 kph, until after serious updates are made to train infrastructure, such as overpasses and platforms, which could take another five to 10 years.

As part of its efforts to switch-out all of its Soviet-era rolling stock by this summer, Elektriraudtee also purchased 18 electric trains.