State expecting faster driving times from Elron compared with shuttle buses

An Elron train (photo is illustrative).
An Elron train (photo is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication has signed a new 10-year-long contract with the rail operator Elron for arranging passenger-carrying but which requires a least 10 percent faster journey times for trains than buses, between larger cities, while from 2025, the state is expecting the company to offer catering on board.

"Over the last decade, the number of train passengers doubled from four million to 8.8 million. With the next decade, we want to bring twice as many passengers to trains," Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center) said.

The ministry is planning to invest €900 million in railways during the years 2021-2028. Aas said that the state will wait with buying new trains so that Elron would help with bringing new people to trains.

The new contract enters into force in 2023 and with the contract, Elron agrees to stick to the schedule with the accuracy of three minutes and depart on schedule at 99.9 percent of the time. The driving time of Tallinn-Tartu, Tallinn-Narva, Tallinn-Viljandi, Tallinn-Paldiski and Tallinn-Keila has to be 10 percent faster than of the shuttle bus driving the same line. 

At the end of 2024, six new trains will arrive in Estonia and related to that, Elron will be obligated to offer catering on trains.

"I believe that with the new trains, as before, we will see a significant increase in the level of service, which will help bring more and more people on the train. When Rail Baltic and Haapsalu railway are completed, we will see 20 million train passengers every year," Aas said.

The agreement also obliges to offer free Wi-Fi on all trains, and the possibility to book a first-class seat on Tartu, Narva and Viljandi routes with desks and an adjustable backrest. Waiting rooms must be in Tallinn at the Baltic Station, Kohila, Rapla, Lelle, Türi, Viljandi, Tartu and Narva.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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