The European Commission, through the Cohesion Fund has approved EUR 272 million investment for train procurement in Latvia and the electrification of Kaišiadorys – Klaipėda railway in Lithuania.
Latvia will receive EUR 114 million to acquire 23 electric multiple units for the Riga and Pieriga region. The new trains will replace the outdated rolling stock owned by the state company. In 2019, Pasazieru vilciens, the state-owned rail passenger operator, and Škoda Vagonka signed a contract EUR 240 million for the delivery of 32 electric trains including their maintenance, spare parts supply and staff training. The new EMU fleet will be delivered by the end of 2023 and will enter commercial operation especially on tracks from Riga to Aizkraukle, Tukums, Skulte and Jelgava. The trains have a capacity of 400 seats and up to 450 standing passengers. The trains are designed to run at a maximum speed of 160 km/h.
Through the procurement of the new trains, rail transport attractiveness will increase, and it is expected to increase the public transport journeys undertaken in the country using environmentally friendly means to reach at least 2.7 million in 2023.
A EUR 158 million investment is provided by the European Union for the electrification of the 365 km Kaišiadorys – Klaipėda railway line which is part of the 423.9 km mainline linking Klaipėda with the Lithuania-Belarus border. In 2020, Lithuanian Railways awarded Walless consortium a EUR 363 million contract for the electrification of Vilnius rail hub and the Kaisiadorys – Klaipeda line. The consortium is formed by the Spanish company Elecnor and Abengoa.
The project, which is estimated to bring economic and environmental benefits of EUR 700 million, is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
In addition, Kaišiadorys and Klaipeda are to be served by the future Rail Baltica high-speed line by implementing the construction of Kaunas – Vilnius section which will provide freight and passenger connections to smaller towns with potential links to Lentvaris, Vievis, including Kaišiadorys.
Lithuania’s electrified line currently accounts only for 8% of its railway network and, at the moment, the Klaipėda – Kaišiadorys section only uses diesel traction, whose emissions account for 3% of all greenhouse gases emitted by the Lithuanian transport sector. The electrification of railway lines is a key provision of the TENT-T development guidelines to increase the efficiency of the EU railway system.