Little electrification so far on Latvia's railways

In 2022, the length of electrified railway lines in EU countries reached 115 000 kilometres (km), a 31% increase compared with 1990, when it totalled 88 000 km. The entire EU railway network had a length of 202 000 km, with the share of electrified lines amounting to nearly 57%, according to Eurostat data published March 13.

"Electrification is a key element of the modernisation of railway networks, lowering the negative environmental impact of railway transport and making it a favourable mode compared with road and other transport modes heavily dependent on fossil fuels," said Eurostat.

Latvia is among the countries with the lowest share of electrified rail lines in the EU. Ireland is bottom of the list with just 3% of its lines electrified, followed by Baltic states Lithuania (8%), Estonia (12%) and then Latvia (13%). 

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Source dataset: rail_if_line_tr

While the share of electrified railway lines showed an upward trend at EU level, the total length of railway lines decreased by 7.5% since 1990, when they totalled 219 000 km. Considerably less railway lines in use were reported by Poland, Latvia, France, and Germany. Between 1990 and 2022 Latvia's rail network shrank by 22.2 % or 500 km.

At the other end of the spectrum, the rail network increased considerably in Spain, Estonia and the Netherlands, in part due to the construction of dedicated high-speed lines. The construction of the Rail Baltica high speed connection should in future see an increase in the network and an increased share of electrification.

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