Initiative calls for train renewal between Rīga and Ventspils

Residents have collected signatures on the initiative portal “” within a couple of days regarding the renewal of passenger train traffic between Rīga and Ventspils, which is the only major city in Latvia to which passenger trains do not travel. Residents' signatures are to be passed on to the Ministry of Transport, Latvian Radio reported January 25.

Passengers can get to Daugavpils, Liepāja, Jelgava, Jūrmala, Rēzekne, Ogre, Valmiera, and Jēkabpils by train any day, but only freight trains are currently going to Ventspils. Passenger traffic stopped in February 2010.

To restore train services between the capital and Ventspils, residents have already collected nearly 1400 signatures on the initiative portal “” within a couple of days, therefore it is planned to submit the initiative to the Ministry of Transport for evaluation.

The author of the initiative is Ivans Vasiļenko, who often commutes by bus to Rīga and Ventspils.

"It was comfort primarily because I often go myself. I'm a student. I take buses from Rīga to Ventspils or vice versa. It's pretty complicated. But a kind of motivator was that the topic has been quite popular lately - we have a new brand called Vivi, and there's expanded train service to Liepāja. I believe [traffic to Ventspils] can be restored. The main thing is to redistribute resources correctly,” Vasiļenko told Latvian Radio.

The main question is whether the state is ready to pay for the trips, said Ventspils Mayor Jānis Vītoliņš, acknowledging that the municipality cannot afford it.

According to the Transport Ministry, the problems are with the rolling stock of trains.

“The capabilities of existing diesel trains have actually been exceeded and exhausted. So without looking for any additional rolling stock options, it would be very difficult to promise. We cannot attract European Union funds, state budget opportunities are extremely limited,” said Patriks Markēvičs, deputy director of the Department of Railway Policy and Infrastructure at the Ministry of Transport.

Restoration of train movement could potentially happen within the next five to seven years. 

“We're looking at a medium term right now. In the long term, we plan for battery-electric train deliveries. We also include Ventspils, and we are looking at how such transportation could be provided. It should be noted that there is a need for investment in infrastructure. With that, it's an even further plan for the future, ” Artūrs Caune, head of the Road Transport Administration, told Latvian Radio.


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