Ten new electric trains will be purchased with European Union funding, the government agreed on Tuesday. The total cost will be €90.7 million.
The trains will be ordered from Czech company Škoda, which Estonia's government-owned passenger train operator Elron has already brought six trains from.
Under the terms of a contract signed in 2020, Estonia had the option of purchasing 10 more trains. The money will come from the EU's modernization fund.
The first six trains will start arriving in 2024, and the following 10 between 2026-2027, said Indrek Gailan, head of the transport development and investment department of the Ministry of Economy and Communications (MKM).
Minister Riina Sikkut (SDE) said the six trains will run on the Tallinn-Tartu line and the additional 10 on the Tallinn-Tapa and Tallinn-Narva routes. The diesel and electric trains currently on this route will then be diverted to the Tallinn-Viljandi line.
A new depot will also be built in Soodevahe, Rae Municipality, next to the planned Rail Baltic depot, as the current depot in Pääsküla is not large enough to house the new vehicles. Construction will start in 2026.
Lower capacity substations will be built on the railway
The ministry also said several sub-stations costing a total of €289.5 million will be built, initially on Tallinn-Aegviidu-Tapa-Tartu, Tapa-Narva and Ülemiste-(Lagedi)-Maardu-Muuga sections. This will allow for electrified freight transport when passenger trains are not using the tracks.
Gailan said low-capacity substations will be installed because, after Russia's attack on Ukraine, the east-west freight train traffic through Estonia decreased sharply and volumes are not expected to return.
The substations will be completed by 2025 and their capacity can be increased in the future if necessary, a ministry representative said.
Electrification of the Aegviidu-Tartu line will be completed by the beginning of 2025.
Editor: Helen Wright