THE long-running privatisation of Estonian State Railways was finally completed on August 31, with the sale of a 66% stake in Eesti Raudtee (EVR) to the Baltic Rail Services OÜ joint venture for US$58m. The deal follows the signing on April 30 of a provisional agreement with the Estonian Privatisation Agency. The Estonian government will continue to own the remaining 34% interest in the 800 km broad-gauge network.

BRS is 44% owned by the Estonian group OÜ Ganiger Invest, led by Estonian entrepreneurs Jüri Käo and Guido Sammelselg. US-based Rail World Inc and British infrastructure and construction group Jarvis plc each hold 25·5%, with the remaining 5% owned by Railroad Development Corp of Pittsburgh.

Announcing the successful conclusion of the sale in Chicago on September 4, Rail World President and BRS Chairman Ed Burkhardt said the group looked forward ’to working closely with EVR’s employees and customers in implementing best international practice’. BRS plans to replace the entire EVR locomotive fleet with rebuilt North American diesels, and to make extensive improvements to track and signalling.

  • Passenger services on most inter-city routes in Estonia were reinstated on September 1, following an agreement on subsidy terms between the government and operator Edelaraudtee, owned by GB Railways Group. Trains between J