LATVIA: A Skoda 15T ForCity 100% low-floor articulated tram made its first trial run in Riga on April 15.

The three-section unidirectional car, which arrived in the city on March 30, is 31·4 m long and 2 500 mm wide with 60 seats and space for 260 standees. The tram has a maximum speed of 70 km/h.

Urban transport operator SIA Rigas Satiksme signed a €51·7m contract with Skoda Transportation in May 2008 to supply 20 trams by January 2011. There is an option for a further 32 vehicles.

The 1 524 mm gauge trams will be deployed on the renovated Route 6 between Radio iela and Jugla in early summer, replacing 40 of the oldest cars in the fleet. Riga has a 100 km network with nine lines and 244 stops, which is worked by a fleet of 252 Tatra trams.

According to Riga Mayor Nils Ušakovs, ‘this is the first new tram in Riga since 1991... [and] is the first step towards updating the rolling stock of Riga trams; we shall evaluate all pros and cons and take them into consideration when making further decisions.’