New Trains Begin Operation (6)
Five new trains will enter into service from Tallinn's central train station today.
Elektriraudtee, the state's passenger train operator, is replacing all of its old electric-powered rolling stock with more comfortable, shinier and faster trains this month.
The operator plans to increase the regularity of both city and intercity trains, and a yet unannounced increase in ticket prices is also due in the near future.
"We have two things in next year's plans: to increase trains' travel speed and passenger numbers,” CEO Andrus Ossip told ERR radio.
"I would venture to say that Estonia's train transport is making a big step forward, stepping from the last century into the new one,” Ossip said.
Still, the new trains will not be able to travel at full speed, 140-160 kph, until after serious updates to train infrastructure such as overpasses and platforms, which could take another five to 10 years.
Also today, a state-funded nonprofit, Operation Lifesaver Estonia, launched its latest public awareness campaign, advocating train safety in light of the new trains, which accelerate faster and are quieter. In the most recent fatal train accident, a 38-year-old man was hit and killed last Wednesday in Tartu, by the Võru street post office.
In 2010, Elektriraudtee had purchased 18 electric and 20 diesel trains from the Swiss-based manufacturer Stadler Bussnang AG. The Estonian operator has so far received 11 new trains and will have 18 by the year's end. Elektriraudtee is set to take over intercity routes from the privately owned rail operator Edelaraudtee next January.