Škoda will build new trains
The new trains will be built for us by the Czech company, Škoda Vagonka. We will receive six new dual-system electric trains based on the details contained in the procurement contract, with an option to order ten more trains in the future.
Two train manufacturers submitted their tenders, these being the builder of trains that are currently being used by Elron, Stadler, along with Škoda, which is building trains for our southern neighbours in Latvia. Škoda’s tender was deemed to be the best.
According to Merike Saks, chairman of the board at Elron, as the successful tenderer, Škoda will initially build six dual-system electric trains which will, based on current plans, start running on the electrified railway section between Tallinn and Tartu for which construction is due to be completed by December 2024.
‘The new trains will contribute greatly to increasing the environmental friendliness of our transport connections, and launching those trains will hopefully also alleviate the current load on one of the most popular railway lines in Estonia,’ explained Saks.
The new trains will have more seats, as well as more bicycle spaces
‘The new trains will have more seats in economy class, as well as in the first class area, which is separated from the economy class by a door. Feedback from customers was also taken into consideration, notably involving a requirement that all seats should be softer and more comfortable,’ Saks highlighted, and added that the trains will also have removable seats which will make it possible to respond more flexibly to customer expectations and needs. ‘This way, we can create more room for bicycle at the expense of the removable seats in the summer months, while in autumn and winter, however, we will be able to provide more seats for customers,’ Saks said when focussing on the removable seating.
The chairman of the board at Elron stressed that, even though there are more seats on the trains, Škoda’s trains are also more accommodating when it comes to the needs of wheelchair-bound customers, as well as anyone who may be travelling with buggies or bicycles. ‘While the current trains have their Section C carriages which are designed for customers with buggies or bicycles and anyone in a wheelchair, the new trains will have more space for such customers, which means that those customers will be able to choose more convenient doors when entering the train,’ stressed Saks.
As a novel feature, the trains that have been ordered will also have a buffet area in which drinks and snacks can be purchased and which will be conveniently accessible for all customers. ‘As travel times will become increasingly short in the future, and the distances being travelled are quite short in Estonia anyway, there will not be any significant catering services being provided on the trains. Lighter snacks and warm drinks will, however, remain available,’ said Elron’s chairman.
The tenders were assessed based on eleven criteria. The cost, parameters, energy consumption levels, maintenance costs, number of seats, and train acceleration were all evaluated, among other things. Škoda’s tender was found to be the best from the perspective of overall costs, as well as exploitation costs.
The electric trains that are being ordered will be dual-system trains which will be able to run on the old sections of the railway with its overhead contact lines, as well as on the new, planned electrified railway sections. If necessary, it will be possible to couple the trains that are going to be built by Škoda with the currently-used Stadler trains.
The six trains will cost 55.2 million euros in total, which includes the cost of building the trains, as well as the cost of providing a package of spare parts and materials for the first five years of working life for the trains.
The trains are scheduled to be delivered in the second half of 2024 and will start serving customers at the end of 2024.
Note: the picture enclosed includes the initial design for a train which was proposed by Škoda train, but this is not the final design solution.