Pasazieru Vilciens Skoda EMU (3)

LATVIA: ‘These trains are bringing to Latvia a new standard of quality’, said Rodžers Jānis Grigulis, CEO of national passenger operator Pasažier Vilciens, at the unveiling of the first of 32 four-car electric multiple-units ordered from Škoda Transportation.

The EMU was unveiled at the factory in the Czech Republic on February 23. Testing in Plzen is scheduled to start in late March, with entry into passenger service planned for the autumn. PV has appointed Ricardo to provide quality assurance services and support commissioning.

Pasazieru Vilciens Skoda EMU (1)

The EMU is a 1 520 mm gauge version of the RegioPanter design which is in service in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. It is rated at 3 MW, with six powered axles and supercapacitor energy storage. The design speed is 160 km/h; the maximum on the Latvian network is currently 120 km/h, but work is underway to raise speeds to 140 km/h by the end of 2023 and 160 km/h by 2035.

The four-car trainset is 109·8 m long, with 436 seats arranged 3+2 and a total capacity of 890 passengers. The yellow and anthracite grey livery was developed by the operator, manufacturer and design studio TEIKA to offer high visibility and be ‘iconic yet also practical’.

Pasazieru Vilciens Skoda EMU (6)

The EMUs will be able to use the existing 3 kV DC overhead electrification equipment on the suburban routes from Riga to Aizkraukle, Tukums, Skulte and Jelgava. Plans for a 25 kV 50 Hz electrification programme were put on hold in 2020 because of the cost and the changing freight market, but studies are once again underway, and the dual-system units would able to use 25 kV 50 Hz in the future.

Pasazieru Vilciens Skoda EMU (4)

The €240m contract for the units was signed in July 2019, and includes maintenance, staff training and the supply of spare parts. Talgo was initially named preferred bidder but procurement monitoring agency IUB blocked the award of the contract following appeals by both Škoda and CAF.