Latvia has received a EUR 318.5 million funding from the Cohesion Fund to electrify 308 km of country’s main east-west railway network and replace diesel-powered locomotives.
Works include the electrification of the Riga–Krustpils, Krustpils-Daugavpils and Krustpils-Rēzekne lines.
At the beginning of 2017, the electrification project was also approved by Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers, which later approved adjustments to the project’s cost estimate as Latvijas Dzelzceļš had managed to reduce the costs to EUR 441 million from the originally planned EUR 510 million.
The plan is to carry out the railway electrification works using EUR 347 million provided under the EU-funded project, including EUR 318 million available from the Cohesion Fund, as well as by raising additional funding from the European Investment Bank.
A tender to carry out the design and construction works planned in the first stage of the project concluded in the fall of 2018. Four bids were qualified in the first phase of the tender. Considering the complexity of the project, LDz continues to assess the bids.
LDz plans to use 2×25 kV alternative current for the electrification of the main lines of the railway network. At present, electric trains can only be used for passenger transport, while freight is only carried by diesel trains. As a result of the project, it will be possible to use heavier trains weighing up to 9,000 gross tonnes, which will reduce freight carriers’ costs per train kilometre.
The total length of Latvia’s rail network is about 1,860 km, of which only about 14% is electrified. This is substantially lower than the EU average of 55%.