Elron, the Estonian rail passenger operator, announced that Škoda Vagonka won a EUR 55.2 million contract for the supply of six new dual-voltage electric trains. The contract includes the delivery of spare parts and materials for the first five years of working life for the trains.
The trains are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2024 and will enter passenger operation at the end of 2024.
The electric trains will enter transport services on the electrified railway section between Tallinn and Tartu for which the construction works are expected to be completed by the end of 2024.
“The new trains will contribute greatly to increasing the environmental friendliness of our transport connections and launching those trains will hopefully also alleviate the current load on one of the most popular railway lines in Estonia,” Merike Saks, the Chairman of the Board of Elron said.
As a novel feature, the trains will have a buffet area in which drinks and snacks can be purchased and which will be conveniently accessible for all customers.
The new trains will have more seats at economy and first class designed in collaboration with the customers which required “softer and more comfortable” seats. The trains will also have removable seats to provide more flexibility to customers’ expectations and needs. “This way, we can create more room for bicycle at the expense of the removable seats in the summer months, while in autumn and winter, however, we will be able to provide more seats for customers,’ Saks said.
The trains are designed for passengers with reduced mobility, as well as for the passengers that are using their bicycles. “While the current trains have their Section C carriages which are designed for customers with buggies or bicycles and anyone in a wheelchair, the new trains will have more space for such customers, which means that those customers will be able to choose more convenient doors when entering the train,” Saks explained.
Stadler has also submitted the offer, but Škoda was the preferred bidder, meeting the criteria of the tender that included the costs, energy consumption, maintenance costs, number of seats and train acceleration. Škoda’s tender was found to be the best from the perspective of overall costs, as well as exploitation costs.
The dual-voltage electric trains will be able to run on the old sections of the railway with its overhead contact lines, as well as on the new, planned electrified railway sections. If necessary, it will be possible to couple the trains that are going to be built by Škoda with the currently-used Stadler trains.