The Estonian railway operator Elektriraudtee has ordered 18 electrical trains of the type FLIRT (12 three-car and 6 four-car trains) for the urban and suburban traffic of Tallinn. These new trains will replace the existing electrical trains whose life time expires within the next years. The electrical trains for Elektriraudtee are based on the FLIRT trains Sm5 for VR in Helsinki, which were developed especially for the harsh Finnish winter conditions and the broad gauge of 1520 mm.
The electrical traction system reflects the experience made for other 3kV applications in Poland and Italy. The new trains are characterized by optimised thermal insulation, large low floor areas, fulfilment of the latest requirement of crashworthiness according to EN15227 as well as an attractive interior and exterior design.
The new Stadler passenger trains to be bought by Estonia will stay idle for an entire year, unless the minister of economic affairs Juhan Parts will manage to find a large amount of available money, an estimated 4-12 million euros in order for the trains to start riding the routes, writes LETA/Eesti Päevaleht.
On Thursday, the CEO of passenger train company Edelaraudtee Kalvi Pukka sent a letter to Parts, refusing the latter’s proposal to terminate the contract for passenger transport in favour of Elektriraudtee a year before than initially planned.
“We concluded the contract until the end of 2014 and would like to transport passengers until the very last day of the contract,” noted Pukka. “We have obligations to banks that are linked to our business plan and that will not make it possible for us to terminate the contract ahead of deadline,” he added.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications wishes to terminate the contract on Edelaraudtee’s routes ahead of deadline because all 20 Stadler diesel trains meant for Elektriraudtee to be operated with will arrive in Estonia by June 2014.
Edelaraudtee, which is owned by Marcel Vichmann, also applied for the opportunity to start operating the new trains, but the Government decided early this summer that State-owned company Elektriraudtee would start transporting passengers with the new trains from the year 2015.
Ain Tatter from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications stated that negotiations with Edelaraudtee are still ongoing, but did not consider it possible for the State to grant Edelaraudtee possession of the new trains until their contract expires.
According to information available to Eesti Päevaleht, Elektriraudtee is not at all considering the option that their enterprise would have to start paying capital lease of 850,000 euros per month for idle trains and the company is hoping that the State would force Edelaraudtee out of their contract.