All of the defects found in new electric trains will be fixed as part of their warranty, as Latvian Minister of Transport reported on X after meeting with the board of Pasažieru vilciens (PV) and management of Czech company Škoda Vagonka.
“Latvia won’t pay a cent on repairs of defects in the new trains. Three trains were fixed in less than 24 hours,” added Briškens.
At the same time, he stressed that during the meeting Škoda Vagonka promised four things – additional repair crews in Riga, a detailed plan for the prevention of A-level defects, improved crisis communication and coordination, as well as additional training for local crews to teach them how to fix defects.
“The start of use of newt trains almost always reveals various defects. According to Škoda’s international experience, in the best case scenario, 70-80% of trains are fully operational in the first week of their deployment. What we have here is nothing special when compared to other countries. Let’s not forget the challenges our neighbours in Estonia had to deal with in a similar situation – prevention of systematic defects required years, and it was necessary to perform renewed certification of trains,” said Briškens.
He also reports that the causes of defects have been so far related to various factors,
including power supply, door sensors, as well as water supply system’s operation. The minister added that all defects were fixed within 24 hours.
“For example – a single train has more than 6 000 electrical connections. It’s a complicated system, and it’s not possible to prevent initial defects during testing. Some of them [defects] appear when trains are deployed in dynamic regime, with passengers on board. Similarly to a new car, a train needs to cover some distance on its first run,” said Briškens.
He also said that it was possible to prevent the previously uncovered defects quickly. However, Škoda also reported the possibility of a more serious defect with one train’s battery.
“This battery’s recharging system is flawed. This is why the train stopped at the station and it wasn’t possible to operate it and raise the pantograph. Škoda promised to fix this defect soon,” said the minister.
Briškens also said that he plans to meet with representatives of Road Transport Administration, Latvian Railway and PV on Thursday, the 4th of January, to look for solutions for effective management of such emergencies.
“I expect improvements to passenger notification algorithms, compensation mechanism, coordination of the introduction of new trains with active infrastructure development in the railway system (platforms, power grid, tracks), as well as the options to provide emergency back-up transport to passengers affected by railway problems,” said Briškens.
Previously Briškens mentioned in his interview to LTV programme Rīta panorāma that railway passenger transport services on Wednesday were being provided by 11 new electric trains.
As previously reported, on Tuesday, the 2nd of January, there were six electric trains available for passenger transport services. This is because five of them were experiencing various technical malfunctions.
On the 15th of December, PV started providing passenger-carrying services using three new electric trains in Tukums, Aizkraukle and Skulte. On the 16th of December new trains were deployed in Jelgava.
PV representatives previously explained that it is planned to receive all 32 electric trains by mid-2024.
Once all trains have been received and commissioned, it is planned to adopt interval timetables for electric trains. PV plans to use the new trains in morning and evening hours, which are usually the most packed. Trains will course every 15 – 20 minutes.
The first two Czech electric trains were delivered to Riga in June 2022.
Each train consists of four train cars. The length of a single train is 109 m. Each train has 436 seats and enough room for 454 standing passengers. All trains have same-level boarding from adapted train platforms.
Pasažieru vilciens representatives previously said the company will request Škoda Vagonka to pay a fine for their failure to deliver trains on time. The maximum fine for failure to deliver each train within the agreed upon time is 10% of the train’s price.
The total costs of the project reach EUR 257.889 million.
PV turnover in nine months of 2023 was EUR 44.256 million, which is 19.2% more when compared to 2022. The company’s profits are down 21% to EUR 458 074.
PV was founded in 2001 as a result of domestic passenger transport services being separated from Latvian Railway’s main functions. Previously PV 100% belonged to Latvian Railway as its subsidiary, but in October 2008 it was reformed into a state company.
Also read: Minister: institutions have to agree on cooperation in the event of malfunctions of passenger trains
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