In the midst of two separate court battles with the government, train operator Edelaraudtee said if it loses rights to operate the country's long-distance routes, yet wins control over the new Stadler trains, rail services will be shut down nation-wide on January 1.
The Public Procurement Appeals Committee ruled at the beginning of September that a contract between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the state-owned Elron, formerly Elektriraudtee, for the later to operate the new state-bought Stadler trains was unlawful as no public tender was held.
The ministry has appealed the decision, saying that an EU directive allows governments to award contracts for public rail services without a public procurement.
In the second court case, Edelaraudtee is demanding 5 million euros in compensation for the Estonian government's premature termination of its contract. The company had an agreement in place to service long-distance routes until the beginning of 2015. But the government terminated that contract after purchasing the new Stadler trains, favoring the state-owned operator Elron.
Lawyers for Edelaraudtee told Postimees on Wednesday that if the disputes are not resolved, there will not be any passenger trains running on January 1, 2014.
Currently, Elron operates routes in Harju County, while Edelaraudtee services long-distance routes, including the Tallinn-Tartu line.