Former Eesti Raudtee CEO and consultant with Rail Baltic Kaido Zimmermann said in an interview with daily Postimees published on Thursday that state-owned passenger train operator Elron could consider a Tartu-Riga connection.
“I read Elron will procure three new trains to service Tartu. It could buy another three and open a line between Tartu and Riga,” Zimmermann said. He said speeds of 120 km/h would mean that people could travel the distance in two hours, and residents of Tartu would no longer have to worry about Rail Baltic passing them by.
Zimmermann added that the passenger arm of Latvia’s state railways didn’t have trains suitable to serve the route at this point, as the company was lagging behind its Baltic peers when it comes to the age of its rolling stock.
“If there is no private company willing to operate the Tartu-Riga route, Elron could do it. The ministries of the two countries would have to agree on how the subsidy is paid, if necessary. Estonia could subsidize the train up to Valga, and Latvia from Valka onwards.”
Zimmermann also said that with this connection, it would take four and a half hours to travel from Tallinn to Riga by train, which was as long as it currently took buses. But for that, Elron’s trains would definitely need new cars with softer seats for such a long journey.
Differences between Estonia and Latvia’s subsidy systems so far have made such a connection impossible. Current European Union rules do not allow countries to subsidize international connections.
Editor: Editor: Dario Cavegn