Rail company plans to boost passenger numbers after buying 32 new trains

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After purchasing new electrical trains, Pasazieru Vilciens rail passenger carrier plans to introduce an interval timetable and raise the number of passengers from the present 17 million a year to 25 million a year, the company’s CEO Rodzers Janis Grigulis told the press August 2.

According to the planned interval timetable, Pasazieru Vilciens trains will be running every 15 to 20 minutes during morning and evening rush hours. The company plans to put its new trains on the Aizkraule, Tukums, Skulte and Jelgava routes.

Considering neighbor countries’ experience and current labor migration towards Riga, Grigulis projected that the number of train passengers will grow from the current 17 million a year to an estimated 25 million a year in three years’ time after the new trains are put into operation. Over the past couple of years, the number of people carried by Pasazieru Vilciens has grown by 632,000.

“Such growth will be possible on the condition that the necessary railway infrastructure is provided,” Grigulis said, adding that this includes raising the platforms and increasing the speed of the trains, developing the Park&Ride system and an extending use of the single ticket system.

Pasazieru Vilciems plans to receive the first of the 32 new passenger trains by the end of 2020, while the last deliveries are planned for the end of 2023.

Grigulis said that the price of the train purchase cannot be determined as yet, nor is it known who will finance the deal. In his words, the company is considering three possible ways of financing the purchase – taking a loan from a local bank, borrowing from the Treasury or raising an international bank loan, possibly from the European Investment Bank (EIB) as part of the so-called Juncker Plan.

Pasazieru Vilciems has so far completed the assessment of four bids submitted in the new tender to supply passenger trains to the carrier. Potential suppliers have been invited to submit their financial proposals by August 6. This will be the last round of the tender which is expected to produce the winner of the contract.

As reported, Pasazieru Vilciens planned to conclude the train purchase contract in the first half of this year but has now moved the deadline to the third quarter of 2018.

Pasazieru Vilciens has received technical offers from Spain's Patentes Talgo S.L (Talgo), Swiss company Stadler's subsidiary in Poland, Stadler Polska Sp. z o.o. (Stadler), Spanish company Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles S.A. (CAF), and Czech company Skoda Vagonka a.s.

Pasazieru Vilciens plans to purchase 32 electric passenger trains to replace its obsolete rolling stock, which is incompatible with the new public transport system developed by the Road Transport Administration and no longer meets passengers’ requirements.

Pasazieru Vilciens was established in 2001 to separate domestic passenger services from other functions performed by the state-owned Latvijas Dzelzcels (Latvian Railway). Although initially Pasazieru Vilciens was a 100-percent owned subsidiary of Latvian Railway, in October 2008 it was transformed into an independent state-owned company.

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