On 8 September, private railway operator Astra Trans Carpatic (Romania) launched a new passenger route, from Timisoara to Baia Mare. Trains will run on Timisoara – Arad – Satu Mare – Baia Mare route. The company operates with multiple-units which offer standard European conditions to passengers, but the cost tickets does not exceed that of the national state-owned operator, CFR Calatori, or that of other private railway passenger transport companies.
The coaches are equipped with passenger information systems, audio-video entertainment system, internet, sockets, efficient air-conditioning and heating installations. The coaches are equipped with GPS to monitor them on the route.
The multiple-units are capable to reach speeds of 200 km/h, but for now are limited by the poor quality of the railway infrastructure in Romania and thus the vehicles will cover the distance between Timisoara and Baia Mare in six hours.
Astra Trans Carpatic’s investments amounts to around EUR 20 million and the entire project includes the operation of 15 such multiple-units by April 2019.
In February 2017, Astra Trans Carpatic launched Arad-Bucharest and back route, and in the summer of the same year, they inaugurated the transport services on Arad-Mangalia route.
“We have decided that the first such train would run on Timisoara – Arad – Baia Mare route. As of December, with the introduction of the new Train Schedule, two coupled trains will depart from Timisoara to Oradea. In Oradea, they will be separated, and one will continue its journey to Baia Mare, while the other will continue its journey to Cluj-Napoca. The coaches of these trains have a business area and an economic area. All seats have tables and the business area has tables between seats”, declared to the local press Valer Blidar, President of Astra Vagoane Calatori Arad company, the owner of Astra Trans Carpatic operator.
The 15 multiple-units were purchased from Denmark’s National Railway Company (DSB).
Astra Trans Carpatic announced plans to open other routes too.
“It is an important step for what Arad-based industry means. We hope the national infrastructure increases every year. We also hope the Romanian Government will lean to what the transport infrastructure means, to taking care of the Romanian railway stations, of areas in front of the railway stations and to manage to attract as many passengers as possible to railways and ship more freight by rail in Romania”, declared Gheorghe Falca, Mayor of Arad, who attended the inauguration of the Romanian western train route.