Daugavpils fulfills dream of locally-produced trams

In a project supported by the Cohesion Fund, AS “Daugavpils Locomotive Repair Factory” (Daugavpils Lokomotīvju remonta rūpnīca, DLRR) has manufactured and delivered the first two of the four new tram cars to the commissioning party – municipal public transport company. Thus, one of the oldest companies in Daugavpils has fulfilled its dream of starting tram production, LSM and Latgales laiks author Ivars Soikāns reports.

DLRR board Member Vladislavs Pavlovičs said that the idea of making tram cars at the company was born about 20 years ago and has now finally come to fruition. It didn't come simply. The company had so far participated on several occasions in procurements carried out by the municipality, but competitors always prevailed.

“Thanks to the coincidence of a number of circumstances, including the support of the local government, as well as the fact that we had still not thrown in the towel and, even without really believing the positive outcome, persisted in the competitions, luck finally smiled at us,” said Pavlovičs.

Currently, in cooperation with the Czech company Pragoimex, the completion of the remaining two trams is coming to an end. 'We have tried to make the tram as comfortable as possible for passengers. The carriages have a low floor, are equipped with ergonomic seats, spaces for disabled passengers, an information display, charging hubs for phones, wireless internet, and other extras that make the ride enjoyable,” Pavlovičs said.

The tram construction project allowed the company to create an additional 30 jobs.

Pavlovičs said that the existence of companies such as DLRR in small countries such as Latvia, Estonia, or Lithuania is a great asset because they are both jobs and financial resources that remain in the state and city in the form of taxes.

Although DLRR has shifted to the European market in recent years, the diversification of orders in any business is very important, especially for a large company with a specialization as narrow as DLRR. Therefore, in the opportunity to develop tram construction by creatingproducts both for the internal market and for export, the company manager sees great opportunities, as well as hopes for State aid.

Sergejs Blagoveščenskis, Member of the board of directors of the municipal public transport company “Daugavpils satiksme”, acknowledged that the new tram cars manufactured in Daugavpils will become a good addition to the rolling stock for the company. It is also essential that these tram carriages are produced in the European Union and that their quality meets all its requirements. This in turn guarantees their safe operation as well as that there will be no problems with their maintenance, unlike Russian-made trams, which, in the context of the economic sanctions imposed against the country, have caused serious problems for the company.

“Despite the fact that some 80 percent of parts in trams made in Russia are also made in Europe, the most significant difference between them lies in electronics and controls. As a result, if these devices go out of line or simply wear out, further operation of the tram becomes problematic. With economic sanctions in place against Russia, the company is starting to run out of spare parts to repair trams made in the country. As a result, spare parts have to be sought in Poland, and Lithuania or tried to be made in local factories. The company has also started using older trams as donors to parts. However, problems should not arise with repairs to new trams,“ Blagoveščenskis said.

Testing for the new trams will begin in the coming days.

Under the terms of the contract, the tram will have to travel 250 kilometers in test mode before passenger transport begins. During this time, it will be adapted to existing infrastructure. In order not to interfere with tram traffic in the city, works will take place mainly during the night hours. This process will be carried out by cooperation partners from the Czech Republic.

The acquisition of tram cars in Daugavpils takes place in the project “Environmentally friendly and integrated mobility in the city of Daugavpils” supported by the Cohesion Fund, with the aim of promoting the use of environmentally friendly public transport and increasing the number of passengers on environmentally friendly public transport in Daugavpils. The total cost of the project is EUR 28 317 548, of which co-financing from the Cohesion Fund is EUR 23 179 500.

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