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Revised rail station platform shelters still give inadequate protection from the elements

Pääsküla station platform shelter is one of those under scrutiny over its apparent lack of adequate protection from the elements.
Pääsküla station platform shelter is one of those under scrutiny over its apparent lack of adequate protection from the elements. Source: ERR

Surprises over Estonia's climate in roughly three of the four seasons of the year mean that the designers of platform shelters at some of Estonia's rail stations have had to return to the drawing board, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday.

Each shelter cost €25,000 to erect; next year, rail-track operator Eesti Raudtee (Estonian Railways) is set to find out whether it will be third time lucky in providing adequate shelter for rail passengers in Estonia – the first time relates to the shelters unveiled well over a decade ago, the second has not resolved customers' issues either.

Eesti Raudtee spokesperson Kertu Arumets told AK that: "I believe that no one could have foreseen that it might snow here. This is an oversight, but one which we'll correct ourselves."

Architecture firm Luhse ja Tuhal created the current solution, which they own the rights to, and are tasked with the redesign also.

Sille Pihlak, a lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) said that altering the existing shelters, called in Estonian waiting "pavilions" (Paviljonid), is the correct approach aesthetically, but in order to work from a practical perspective, more real-life users should be involved in the process.

Pihlak said that it had been "a pity to learn that when this second adjustment didn't work out, we now have to take the next step. We should be aware that people already expect something very specific and functional from the alterations."

One rail passenger, Helina Thomson, a resident of Nõmme, said that the angle of the shelters' roof tends to lead to condensation or rain dripping on to those below, even making the benches wet in the process.

She agreed that a complete rebuild might not be necessary, but rather simply a solution to prevent this issue.

Eesti Raudtee concedes that results so far have not quite married up to expectations; Kertu Arumets said that the latest plan would see improvements to the roof in response the above problems.

When the first new platforms at were opened around 12 years ago, public complaints about the lack of shelter from the outset were met by a response from Eesti Raudtee which involved inserting plexiglass panels.

While a year ago, Eesti Raudtee stated that a rebuild of shelters was not viable, improvements to the first five shelters were rolled out in April this year, though again it became clear from passenger experience that the design was inadequate to the task.

Other issues at smaller Eesti Raudtee stops include too-short platforms, for instance at Kulli village, just outside Tallinn, even to accommodate the relatively short Elron trains. Per an in-train announcement in Estonian ahead of arriving at that stop, passengers should make their way to one end of the train if they wish to disembark at that halt.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera,' reporter Hanneli Rudi.

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