Tallinn-Tartu trip to take under two hours by train

Extensive repairwork on the railway connnecting Tallinn and Tartu is scheduled to be completed soon, after which a trip via train between Estonia’s two biggest cities will shorten to under two hours in length.

Beginning Dec. 4, or next Sunday, Elron will no longer have to employ connecting shuttle buses between Tallinn-Rapla and Tapa-Tartu.

On Dec. 11, however, Elron will be launching a new train schedule which will include one additional express train departure each on its Tallinn-Tartu and Tartu-Tallinn routes.

According to the new schedule, the trip should take less than two hours via express train, a decrease from its current average time of two hours and ten minutes; its local trains, which stop at all stations along the route, are also slated to begin making the trip faster than their current approximate time of two hours and 40 minutes.

Source: ERR News

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Minister in hot water over insulting Lithuanians

Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts is in the middle of a diplomatic row, after Wall Street Journal published a blog posting where Parts was quoted as saying that certain Lithuanian government members were “fools”.

Parts has used the Estonian word “jobud” to describe the Lithuanian government for recent demands made on Rail Baltic, the joint infrastructure project to connect the Baltics to the European rail system.

According to Parts, such demands are slowing down the progress and are putting the whole venture at risk.

Read more from BBN

Estonia’s passenger rail traffic may come to standstill

Edelaraudtee, Estonian private rail passenger carrier, threatens to stop all passenger rail traffic from next year, writes ERR.

The company’s lawyers said that if the court upholds the decision of the public procurement dispute committee that declared null and void the directly awarded contract between the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Elektriraudtee with which the state gave all the railway passenger transport management starting from 2014 to Elektriraudtee without holding a competition, all passenger rail traffic would come to a standstill.

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Lithuania being investigated for cutting Latvian link

The European Commission has launched formal antitrust proceedings against the Lithuanian state-owned railway company Lietuvos gelezinkeliai (LG) for removing a rail link between Latvia and Lithuania, reported news2biz LITHUANIA.

In late 2008, Lietuvos gelezinkeliai dismantled the Lithuanian leg of the rail tracks connecting Renge station in Latvia to Mazeikiai in Lithuania, following an order from the Lithuanian government. It claimed that the track was in bad condition and could cause an accident. It has not reopened the route since.

Both Orlen ( a Polish-owned oil refinery) and Latvian state-owned rail company Latvijas Dzelzcels complain that Lithuania’s move is aimed at protecting its own transport companies at the expense of their competitors.

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Estonians will enjoy Swiss trains worth 96 MEUR

The Estonian passenger operaator Elektriraudtee AS (Electric Railway) and the Swiss train manufacturer Stadler Bussnang AG presented the first two units of the major order of diesel and electric trains placed with Stadler by Estonia.

Elektriraudtee said that the trains, designed for the climatic conditions of Estonia, will enter operation in June 2013. Both units have a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour.

The public tender of Elektriraudtee to buy 18 electric and 20 diesel trains was announced in 2009 and contracts with the winning bidder were signed in August 2010.

The electric trains cost approximately 80 million euros, 85% of which is provided by the EU Cohension Fund. The diesel trains cost 96 million euros and will go to Elektriraudtee under a capital lease arrangement.

Under the government’s decision the state-owned Elektriraudtee, currently the operator of electric shuttle trains to and from Tallinn, will provide passenger service all over Estonia starting from 2014.

Source: Estonian Review

Go Rail launches Tallinn-St Petersburg train service

International passenger transport company Go Rail launches the Tallinn-St Petersburg train route on May 27.

Go Rail’s Tallinn-St Petersburg train will have one trip a day in each direction, departing at 7.03 a.m. from Tallinn and 7.32 p.m. from St Petersburg. The travelling time is 7 hours.

AS Go Rail operates also Tallinn-Moscow trains.

Read more from BBN

Cargo carriage by rails grows 17 pct in 2010

Last year a total of 29.63 million tons of freight was carried on tracks of Estonia’s state-owned railway company Eesti Raudtee which marks a year-on-year increase of 16.9%.
Some 2.83 million tons of the total fell into December, up by 15.7% in annual comparison, Eesti Raudtee said.
The overall rail freight volume showed a year-on-year growth of 12%, totalling 6.26 billion net ton kilometers.
Oil and oil products accounted for nearly 69% or 20.36 million tons of the freight turnover, increasing by 15.9% compared to the previous year. Domestic oil shale shipments doubled in annual comparison, reaching 3.69 million tons. Rail haulage of fertilizers also showed robust growth, amounting to 2.24 million tons.
A decline of 34%, to 1.33 million tons, occurred in the carriage of coal. Decreases were also recorded in bulk goods, which contracted by 33% in annual comparison to 0.57 million tons, and in chemical goods, which dropped more than 13% to 0.4 million tons.
Transit shipments accounted for 80.5% of the rail freight volume in 2010, growing by 13.7% from the previous year.
Domestic shipments amounted to 4.25 million tons, up by more than 50% against 2009. Export shipments increased by 8.7% to 0.61 million tons. In import shipments the freight volume was 0.92 million tons, down by 7% year-on-year.
Looking at cross-border haulage, 23.58 million tons of goods or 9.6% more than a year earlier was transported into Estonia by rail last year. Outward-bound rail freight totalled 1.81 million tons, representing a year-on-year increase of 73%.
Container carriage by rail totalled 22 394 TEU, nearly 40% more than in 2009. Almost half the containers went to Russia with shipments to that country growing by 16%.

Source: Estonian Review