Passenger Rail picks Škoda Vagonka for €240m electric train procurement

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Latvia's state-owned Pasažieru Vilciens rail company is to buy electric trains from Škoda Vagonka, Pasažieru Vilciens head Jānis Grigulis told the press February 15.

The agreement is worth €241.88 million but can still be appealed within ten days. It stipulates that 32 new trains will be built for the company and includes deliveries of spare parts and equipment, as well as personnel instruction.  

Earlier, the company had opted for trains worth €225 million from Spanish Patentes Talgo S.L., but the procurement watchdog discovered deficiencies in the tender after Škoda Vagonka and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A. appealed.

Grigulis confirmed the news to the press and said that Škoda Vagonka was chosen instead taking into account the procurement watchdog's instructions about the tender.

"We made the choice taking into account the indications by the Public Procurement Monitoring Bureau, which made us factor in a different price of electricity," he said.

"Therefore the total costs during the life cycle of the trains were reviewed. Upon choosing the contestant, we didn't consider just the initial investment. What's more important is what the trains will cost us within the next 35 years," he said. 

Meanwhile Spain's Talgo told the press that it will contest the ruling. "Any tampering with the procurement process, which takes place not in the interest of the general public but instead of some individual interests; and any result that prevents Latvian residents from receiving the most modern product that gives the best return on investment over 40 years, will be considered unacceptable by Talgo," the company said in a press release. 

Latvia's new Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits (New Conservative Party) then said that if the trains are not bought there's a theoretical possibility that state-owned company Pasažieru vilciens might be disbanded and replaced with a private carrier.

Pasažieru Vilciens started a new tender to purchase electric trains in 2015, and four bidders had advanced to the second stage of the tender – Spanish company Talgo, Polish subsidiary of Swiss company Stadler, Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A. (CAF), and Czech company Škoda Vagonka.

Pasažieru Vilciens was established in 2001 to separate domestic passenger services from other functions performed by the state-owned Latvijas Dzelzceļš (Latvian Railways). Initially a 100-percent owned subsidiary of Latvian Railways, in October 2008 Pasažieru Vilciens was transformed into an independent state-owned company.

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