Elron is to begin replacing the wheelsets on its passenger trains with replacement sets made in Russia. The first six wheelsets, which were manufactured at Vyksa Metallurgical Plant, arrived in Estonia on Thursday.
Over the next few years, Elron will be replacing about one third of the wheelsets on its rolling stock, as those currently in use were made from steel that will degrade in the Estonian climate and on the rails significantly more quickly than expected, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
Earlier this year, Elron admitted that the lifespan of the wheelsets initially used on Elron's Stadler FLIRT trains will be significantly shorter than the initially hoped-for one million kilometers, as the R8 steel from which the wheelsets were made is not suitable to the Estonian climate.
"We initially expected that this million-kilometer wheelset lifespan is in reality theoretical," explained Elron board member Riho Seppar. "They should last that long in ideal conditions. Thus conditions weren't ideal, and we had to begin replacing them sooner."
Elron has a total of 38 trains on 356 wheelsets. Approximately 30 of these have already been repaced with wheels made from stronger steel, and Elron has also ordered via procurement the replacement of another 120 wheelsets.
The €660,000 procurement was won by Oleg Ossinovski's firm Skinest, which has ordered the wheelsets from Vyksa Metallurgical Plant in Russia.
30-40 wheelsets are expected to be replaced per year.
"We hope that these hold up better," Seppar said. "Those being delivered by Skinest now are made of R9 steel fitting European specifications, which is similar to the steel 2 once used by Estonian Railways."
Editor: Aili Vahtla