New Tallinn trams to cost tens of millions less than projected

A Polish-built PESA Twist tram in Tallinn.
A Polish-built PESA Twist tram in Tallinn. Source: AS Tallinna Linnatransport

A drawn out procurement by the City of Tallinn for new trams reached a pleasant conclusion as a manufacturer was found and the trams will cost tens of millions less than the city had expected.

Tallinn announced in April that the buying process for new trams, which had been drawn out for various reasons over three years, had finally found a manufacturer for the city's tram order. Polish company Pesa will be building 23 new trams for Tallinn at a total cost of €52 million.

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov (Center) told ERR that such a price tag was a bit of a surprise for the city, as the projected price tag had been higher.

"Based on market research as well as previous experience, we planned on the trams costing a total of €71 million," Novikov said. "When we received the tender, we were surprised to discover that something can end up cheaper right now too, and that the winner, Pesa, offered [a price of] €1 million per tram."

Market research had suggested a price of €3 million per tram, he added.

The lower price also means that while the procurement had originally been for the purchase of eight trams with the option for another 15 trams, the City of Tallinn will now instead just buy out all 23 trams at once. The city is expected to receive the new trams in 2024 and 2025.

According to the deputy mayor, however, the lower price does not mean that the trams being ordered will be in any way poorer quality. "They should meet all modern tram requirements," he said, adding that the specialists at city transport company Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS (TLT) are going over all of the details with a fine-toothed comb.

Novikov noted that building trams for Tallinn is actually "somewhat of a custom job" for manufacturers, as tram tracks in Tallinn are 1,067 mm (also known as 3 ft 6 in) gauge, not the 1,435 mm standard gauge predominant in Western Europe.

He also explained that a cheaper procurement also doesn't mean that the city now has several tens of millions of extra euros to its name, as this was prospective external financing anyway. Now Tallinn will be buying the trams with its own money, and is slated to pay its first installment this year already.

The procurement-winning Pesa will be building Tallinn 23 new Pesa Twist trams. The five-door Twist is 28.6 meters long, seats 65 and has a capacity of 300 riders. The new trams are largely low-floored as well.

The City of Tallinn first announced a procurement for new trams in December 2018. Half a year later, the first procurement was declared a flop, as not a single qualifying tender had been submitted.

Tallinn public transport operator TLT currently operates a rolling stock of 64 trams.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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