GEORGIA: ‘Today we are witnessing the beginning of a new stage in the development of Georgian Railway’, said Director General Mamuka Bakhtadze on July 22 when two of the four Kiss double-deck electric multiple-units being supplied by Stadler were unveiled to the public at Batumi Centrali station.

Bakhtadze said GR has never before had rolling stock of such a high standard, adding that 2014 and 2015 had been successful years for the company, with high income from freight traffic enabling it to acquire the EMUs.

Guests at the ceremony were able to see the onboard facilities, including those for passengers of reduced mobility.

The EMUs are to be deployed from the end of July on fast services from Tbilisi to the Black Sea resorts of Batumi, Kobuleti and Ureki.

A total of 24 Kiss EMUs were originally ordered by Russian airport shuttle operator Aeroexpress in 2013, but the subsequent fall in the value of the rouble made that contract unaffordable. An agreement was reached earlier this year for Aeroexpress to take only 11 units, with Azerbaijan’s national railway ADY taking a further five EMUs from the original order and four going to GR under a €39·6m deal signed in April.