LATVIA: Riga urban transport authority SIA Rigas Satiksme has awarded a €51·7m contract to Skoda Transportation for the supply of 20 low-floor trams.

The contract was formally signed on May 23, following an international tender launched in December 2007.

The 1 524 mm gauge trams will be based on Skoda's latest Type 15T design, branded ForCity, of which 250 standard-gauge cars are due to be delivered to Praha in 2008-17. The Riga contract includes an option for a further 32 vehicles, making it the largest tram export order won by Skoda since 1990.

The 100% low-floor three-section articulated cars will be 31·6 m long and 2 500 mm wide, with air-conditioning throughout. Each car will have 61 seats and space for 240 standing passengers.

A pre-series car is due to be delivered to Riga in June 2009 and the whole build by the end of 2010. The low-floor vehicles are expected to enter service first on Line 6 between Radio iela and Jugla, where they will replace 40 of the oldest cars in the existing fleet.

At present, Riga operates 252 cars delivered from the former CKD plant in Praha in the 1970s and 1980s, of which 180 were refurbished between 1999 and 2001.