Edelaraudtee could start operating trains on the Tallinn-Tartu line without a government subsidy if it got the best departure times, the manager of the privately owned Estonian train operator, Alar Pinsel, said on Friday.
"Operating a commercial route not at the best times is effectively ruled out, as you simply can't compete with a subsidized service," Pinsel told BNS.
The manager added that Edelaraudtee has three to five trains suitable for use in passenger service at this point. Putting them into service would require investments of different size, however.
Pinsel said last summer that Edelaraudtee wants to start operating the Tallinn-Tartu train route with trains previously used on the Tallinn-St. Petersburg route and that it expects to be able to do it with a subsidy half of that paid to Eesti Liinirongid AS, the state owned operator of passenger trains that conducts its business under the Elron brand.
He said Edelaraudtee would like to put in operation on the Tallinn-Tartu route additional renovated trains seating more than 500 passengers and featuring extras such as a first class and a dining car .
"These are the same trains which earlier traveled to St. Petersburg, and with six cars they seat up to 584 passengers," Pinsel said, adding that the maintenance costs of these trains may be approximately half of that of Elron's trains. "We must draw up traffic schedules and maintenance based on those schedules, but I believe that it might be approximately half of that sum."
Edelaraudtee discontinued providing subsidized rail passenger services in Estonia in 2014 when, upon the arrival of brand new trains bought by Estonia from the Swiss manufacturer Stadler, the contract was awarded to the state-owned Elron.
Editor: Dario Cavegn