The procurement to acquire new trains set to operate between Tallinn and Tartu in 2024 came down to two companies, Stadler — the manufacturer of the trains in use currently — and Czech company Škoda Vagonka, with the latter announced as the winner.
On the basis of a government decision, Estonian state-owned passenger rail operator Elron announced a procurement in January for the purchase of six dual system electric trains, with the option of an additional ten trains in the future.
Elron announced on Thursday that the option contract will be signed shortly. Two manufacturers took part in the procurement, with Škoda coming out on top over Stadler, whose diesel locos currently ply the route.
Škoda will provide six dual system elctrical trains, currently set to begin operating on the electrified Tallinn-Tartu route in December, 2024. The total sum of the six trains is €56.2 million and the handover will be carried out in the second half of 2024.
"Regarding technical criteria, it's essential to note that the trains to be procured will be dual-system electric trains which can travel in both the old contact line area as well as on new electrified sections of rail. The maximum length of the trains will be 85 meters — this is dictated first and foremost by the maintenance equipment at our depot," Elron CEO Merike Saks explained in January.
The new trains will have more seats, and the plan is to take advantage of the option to move seats in oder to more flexibly react to travelers' expectations, Saks explained.
The trains are also planned to have replacable seats that can be moved to create more space for bicycles in warm months and for more seating in colder months.
Although the trains are planned to have more seating, Škoda's trains will accomodate cyclists — somewhat of a controversial point in the past — baby carriages and pushchairs, as well as wheelchairs, via suitable doors and wagons designed for travelers.
A food and drink area will also be added, with light snacks and warm drinks on offer, Elron says.
As the trains will be dual systems, they can operate on both the planned electrified tracks along with operation on the current older contact tracks. If necessary, Škoda's trains can also be hooked up with Stadler's trains.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste