Palo: Too early to call Stadler trains a bust
Economy Minister Urve Palo said today that the 200-million euro Stadler trains, which have been reprorted to have a faulty power inverter, were tailor-made for Estonia and technical problems were always likely to surface.
State-owned rail passenger company Elron, which purchased the 18 electric and 20 diesel trains from Swiss manufacturer Stadler, has been struggling with disruptions in service, with power inverters failing.
Elron supervisory board member Siiri Odrats-Koni told Delfi that the trains received a EU certificate and were accepted by the Estonian Technical Regulatory Authority. She said the trains were constructed specifically for Estonia, and are very high-tech.
“The technical reliability of the trains has been good, on the whole. A 100 percent on-schedule timetable is not realistically possible,” Palo said.
Andrus Ossip, the CEO of Elron, said that there are many reasons for the disruptions, such as the fatal accident in Raasiku in April which killed two people, and resulted in one train being taken permanently out of service. He added that trains also collide with wild animals on most days.
Elron has received fines of around 2,000 euros per month for disruptions in services.
Stadler itself has apologized and conducted tests, swapping out power inverters, which convert electricity created by the diesel engines into electricity for other part of the trains, in five trains already. The problems fall under the guarantee agreement, and Elron has not had to pay for any repairs.
Elron purchased 18 electric trains for close to 80 million euros, of which 85 percent was covered by the EU funds, and 20 diesel trains in a 200-million euro, 20-year financial lease deal.