New Škoda Electric Trains Enter Service in Latvia

The first Škoda 16Ev electric trains have commenced regular service in Latvia, operated by Vienā vilcienā (VIVI) on behalf of Pasažieru vilciens.

In total, Škoda Group is supplying 32 passenger-ready electric trains on a 1520 mm gauge in Latvia.

The first of these units was deployed from Riga Central Station at 10:58 am on 15 December in the presence of the Minister of Transport, Kaspars Briškens.

The first electric Škoda 16Ev units of the Latvian national carrier Vienā vilcienā (VIVI) have just gone into service with passengers in Riga
The first electric Škoda 16Ev units of the Latvian national carrier Vienā vilcienā (VIVI) have gone into service with passengers in Riga

The complete order is expected to be delivered by mid-2024.

Zdeněk Sváta, Member of the Board of Directors of Škoda Group said:

“We are delighted that, following the dedicated efforts of our entire team, we have successfully navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Today, we stand proud as the first units embark on passenger service. I am confident that passengers will now enjoy their travels on these new units.”

The new trains are based on the RegioPanter model in the Czech Republic and have been adapted for the specific requirements of Latvia. In addition to the wide gauge, they have a larger width to accommodate more passengers.

Each vehicle has 436 seats across four coaches and is 109 meters in length. They feature single-level boarding to enhance accessibility and reduce transfer times at stops. Meanwhile, wider train doors also facilitate quicker boarding and alighting.

Rodgers Jānis Grigulis, Chairman of the Board of Pasažieru vilciens said:

“In acknowledging the numerous partners who supported us throughout the journey – from testing and certification to employee training – I extend special thanks to every employee of Pasažieru vilciens. Whether directly involved in the electric train delivery or contributing through daily responsibilities ensuring the highly valued train service, together, we are taking a significant step forward in advancing train travel. Our collective efforts aim to encourage more passengers to choose train travel, fostering regional accessibility, supporting the country's mobility goals, and enhancing passenger experiences.”

To enhance the passenger experience, the new electric trains have full air-conditioning, ergonomic seating and modern amenities. They are also equipped with video and audio information systems and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The design speed of the units is set at 160 km/h, an increase from the current 120 km/h, with the potential for further acceleration on sections where railway infrastructure permits.

Thanks to the introduction of the new electric trains, VIVI can now implement improved timetables on all routes, allowing trains to run every 15 to 20 minutes during peak weekday mornings and evenings.

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