Nation's Trains Turn Orange as State Takes Over Intercity Routes ({{commentsTotal}})

New trains to arrive on Estonian railroads in 2012 will be part of revamping the service Source: Photo: Courtesy of the Economic Affairs and Communications Ministry

State-owned passenger rail operator Elron has taken over service on the nation's long-distance lines, replacing the Soviet-era rolling stock with brand new, orange Stadler trains.

Elron had previously serviced only Harju County commuter lines, where it switched to new trains six month ago, but as of January 1 it runs all routes inside Estonia.

Edelaraudtee, the privately-owned company that had serviced the intercity routes for the previous 17 years, has let 126 employees go, of whom around 50 have been hired by Elron and another 15 by Go Rail, a international passenger rail company, Oleg Tšubarov, the head of a railway workers union, told Õhtuleht today.

The company told ETV on Tuesday that it may sell its fleet to scrap yards, having tried and failed to find buyers in such countries as the Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

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