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Old July 31st, 2014, 01:40 PM   #81
BriedisUnIzlietne
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To take a break from the news reels - some pictures!


Rail Baltica towards Rīga between Jugla and Baltezers






New platforms U/C at Baltezers stop


The old Rīga-bound platform at Baltezers stop

Pictures taken by me.
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Old August 2nd, 2014, 10:55 AM   #82
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This weekend the weather is so good that Pasažieru Vilciens are using all 24 electric trains. Trains to Jūrmala run about every 10 minutes!! (Previous weekends it was 15 minutes)
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 08:39 AM   #83
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Is that line being upgraded w/ Electrification?
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Old August 3rd, 2014, 10:31 PM   #84
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Sadly no... Those are the remains of electrification

In late 1980ies (there's not much information) electrification was planned to reach Sigulda.

After reclaiming independence from the Soviet Union (1990) Latvia was left with electrified portions Zemitāni - Čiekurkalns - Jugla - Garkalne (20 km) and Brasa - Čiekurkalns (1 km). (Picture)

Since there were still 30 km to Sigulda unelectrified, all towns were very small and the state had no money, they decided to discontinue to electrification. They dismantled the electrification on portions Jugla - Garkalne and Brasa - Čiekurkalns.

Zemitāni - Čiekurkalns - Jugla (6 km) electrification lasted until 2013. But it never saw a regular electric train service. (Picture before) (Picture after)

------------
Soon though LDz plans to upgrade ~700 km of routes with AC electrification. And also upgrade the current 200 km of electrification from DC to AC.
But this won't include the Rīga - Sigulda line. That will be upgraded to allow 120 km/h diesel trains.
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Old August 5th, 2014, 11:59 AM   #85
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Latvian Railways 95

Latvian Railways - with power and inspiration already for 95 years!

Latvian Railways - with 12 000 workers the largest company in Latvia - has become a stable leader in rail transport in the Baltics.

In the first half of 2014 freight volumes have grown by 4,7% to 30,8 million tons.
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Old August 8th, 2014, 10:58 PM   #86
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New monument dedicated in memory of the film L’arrivée d’un train à La Ciotat (1896) and our cinema festival Arsenāls has been unveiled at Ķeipene railway station



Arsenāls was a local cinema festival which after 25 years has ceased to exist just like everything connected to it - the Jūras pērle/Sea pearl restaurant where you could enjoy a dance with the foreign guests and the Daile palace where a multimedia exposition took place.

The new monument, onto which the sun casts a line of squares that resembles the sides of film frames, makes you think about.. well I don't know even how to translate it... your thoughts basically. The author says that "when exiting the tunnel you won't be the same person that entered it. Every moment we edit our own movie and life ourselves."

Ķeipene station is located on the former Rīga - Ērgļi railway. It was never fully completed because the start of WWII. The railway was closed in 2007 and dismantled in 2009. For esthetic reasons there are still 700 meters of tracks in Ķeipene station.
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Old August 18th, 2014, 03:13 PM   #87
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Latvia - the least used passenger trains in European Union
or so at least the Swiss claim...

The Latvian trains do the least amount of train kilometers per one inhabitant of the country. I'm struggling to see how is that in any kind useful information, except that it shows that the Swiss are best at it. In the world.

And in the "passenger rides per one inhabitant of the country" chart we don't show at all. But our neighbors Estonia and Lithuania are at the very bottom. And, guess what? Yes, Switzerland is the best in the EU at that. By my calculations, Latvia should be around the lower half of the chart but not at the very bottom. Next to Portugal, with 10 rides per inhabitant (by CSB data).

But the reason behind low amounts of train km per inhabitant is... Rīga. Half of the country lives in Rīga and don't need to use the train. The other half lives in the countryside with population density too low for trains to be a viable use of transportation - even the buses run half empty.

The Swiss charts are here
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Old August 18th, 2014, 04:27 PM   #88
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Swiss aren't part of EU.
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Old August 18th, 2014, 04:30 PM   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriedisUnIzlietne View Post
Latvia - the least used passenger trains in European Union
or so at least the Swiss claim...

The Latvian trains do the least amount of train kilometers per one inhabitant of the country. I'm struggling to see how is that in any kind useful information, except that it shows that the Swiss are best at it. In the world.

And in the "passenger rides per one inhabitant of the country" chart we don't show at all. But our neighbors Estonia and Lithuania are at the very bottom. And, guess what? Yes, Switzerland is the best in the EU at that. By my calculations, Latvia should be around the lower half of the chart but not at the very bottom. Next to Portugal, with 10 rides per inhabitant (by CSB data).

But the reason behind low amounts of train km per inhabitant is... Rīga. Half of the country lives in Rīga and don't need to use the train. The other half lives in the countryside with population density too low for trains to be a viable use of transportation - even the buses run half empty.

The Swiss charts are here
Well, Latvians may use trains to travel to other Baltic states... But the connections aren't that good, even if they are better then 2-3 years ago.
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Old August 18th, 2014, 05:07 PM   #90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XAN_ View Post
Swiss aren't part of EU.
Oops. forgot. In that case it's really hard to understand these charts at all. It's more than the EU (Norway and Switzerland), but it's less than Europe as it doesn't have Moldova, Ukraine and other European countries.

As for our long distance services - the infrastructure costs since 2006 have risen almost 4 times to 5,83 €/km which, combined with ticket prices of 0,04 €/km and population density of 16 people/sq. km, makes train operating seriously expensive in the countryside. People want fast and frequent services but all we can afford are 1-3 trains per day that stop at all stations. Instead of, let's say, half hourly expresses and hourly stopping services.

Last edited by BriedisUnIzlietne; August 18th, 2014 at 05:31 PM.
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Old August 18th, 2014, 09:06 PM   #91
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Why are then Estonians with a similar population density and distribution apparently using trains four times as often?

I read somewhere that the least train friendly country in Europe (other than micro states and Iceland which has no trains) is Albania and the total number of kilometres driven yearly in that country is reached in Netherlands in 6 hours.
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Old August 18th, 2014, 11:30 PM   #92
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I don't know. With a 50% increase of passengers due to new trains, Estonia this year will have about 6 million passengers. While Latvia - 20 million.

For Estonia (a country of 1,3 million) it means 4,6 journeys per head. While for Latvia (a country of 2 million) it means 10 journeys per head.
This data is for the chart in page 2 of the Swiss report. The chart in which Latvia isn't included.

As for the chart in page 3 - I still don't understand it. Train kilometers per one inhabitant! The freshest trainkilometer data I can find is from 2011 - back then passenger trains did 6,4 million trainkilometers. And 6,4 million trainkilometers divided by 2 million people is 3,2 trainkm per head. NOT EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE TO THE 40 TRAINKM PER HEAD OF THE SWISS REPORT. WHAT THE ****?
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Old August 19th, 2014, 12:08 AM   #93
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Was it trainkilometres, or passengerkilometres?
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Old August 19th, 2014, 12:27 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Was it trainkilometres, or passengerkilometres?
It said Bahnkilometer which translates to trainkilometer, not passengerkilometer.

But, looking at the data, it seems that it might be actually passengerkilometers per head! For both Lithuania and Estonia I got exactly the same numbers! And I figured out why Latvia shows at the last place - they counted only international trains. Then we really have 40 passengerkilometers per head. If they have found the total numbers, then we would end up with 365 passengerkilometers per head. Right between Slovenia and Ireland.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 02:45 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XAN_ View Post
Well, Latvians may use trains to travel to other Baltic states... But the connections aren't that good, even if they are better then 2-3 years ago.
As far as I know, connections between baltic states are extremely
unpractical. No direct trains at all, only possible using local trains and change
at the border, only one trip per day, and for the Vilnius-Riga connection,
an hotel night en route is required. No wonder why everyone takes the bus...
But every baltic capital still has a direct train to Moscow...
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Old August 19th, 2014, 08:46 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriedisUnIzlietne View Post
Latvia - the least used passenger trains in European Union
or so at least the Swiss claim...

The Latvian trains do the least amount of train kilometers per one inhabitant of the country. I'm struggling to see how is that in any kind useful information, except that it shows that the Swiss are best at it. In the world.

And in the "passenger rides per one inhabitant of the country" chart we don't show at all. But our neighbors Estonia and Lithuania are at the very bottom. And, guess what? Yes, Switzerland is the best in the EU at that. By my calculations, Latvia should be around the lower half of the chart but not at the very bottom. Next to Portugal, with 10 rides per inhabitant (by CSB data).

But the reason behind low amounts of train km per inhabitant is... Rīga. Half of the country lives in Rīga and don't need to use the train. The other half lives in the countryside with population density too low for trains to be a viable use of transportation - even the buses run half empty.

The Swiss charts are here
There is nothing wrong about these charts, also swiss people didn't fabricate those. The charts are based on eurostat data.

Passengerkilometers by train per year speaks more about usage than rail passengers per year, that’s why it’s better. If a person chooses 10 times a train for 20km journey and 5 times a car for 50km journey then actually he has used car more than train (250km by car vs 200km by train) despite of he took half less journeis by car. It’s not useful for only swiss but also other countries. Why trains are popular mode of transportation in Switzerland? Their system is really good, I recommend every transportation guru to go and see and feel that it is one of best in whole world.

Why is Latvia the last one? The source data is as follows: 721 000 000 passnegerKm per year and about 20 000 000 rail passengers per year: it makes ~40km for every passenger who goes by train. How correct is the source data I really don't know.

The train is viable for most mainlines that exist in Latvia. The problem is that there are no trains and the few ones that are are old and maybe people prefer bus and car. It doesn't mean that people are not willing to use train. There are lot's of examples as you know by yourself also, you also are familiar with other problems I think. Riga - Sigulda - Valmiera - Valga trains are very slow, no fast services. Riga - Jelgava - Liepaja, only two trains per week to the city that is third in population in Latvia. Riga - Ventspils, no passenger services. Maybe the best situation for long distance is on Riga - Krustpils - Daugavpils route but still only one fast "dinaburga" :-). What goes for all services is that platforms are low and it is hard to climb on the train especially when you have travel bag or a bike.

What goes for Estonia, there is no 50% more passengers. If the fools who ordered the new trains had more brains to take into account higher demand due to higher quality of service then Estonia would see 50% rise or even higher. The seats are not comfortable, even Helsinki commuter trains have better seats and there is no on-board catering. Also no enough room for childcarriages and bikes.

If there will be 6 billion passengers this year then the rise will be about 9% from 5,5 billions in 2007. In the time between 2007 and 2013 there were rail renovation works and lot's of confuse that caused lower passenger levels.
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Old August 19th, 2014, 09:58 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArtManDoo View Post
There is nothing wrong about these charts, also swiss people didn't fabricate those.
There is - for some reason they had only Latvijas ekspresis data. If they had taken the total passenger amounts (729 million pkm) and divided them by the 2 million population, Latvia would have had a number 365 which is next to Ireland.

But our passenger amounts were declining ever since 2006. Only last year we finally saw an increase: passengerkilometer amount grew by 4 million and passenger numbers grew by 22 thousand.

While Estonia has fully upgraded all the tracks, trains and stations (which is now going to do magic with the passenger amounts), we do only a handful of things. Tracks do get upgraded to 120 all the time but the train schedules are still for 70 km/h (so to not disturb the freight trains), the station repairs are minor - if for some reason the station does get new platforms, they are low ones. Only EU money stations get high platforms. As for new trains - we don't seem to be able to buy any It's no wonder that on my table lamp I have an Estonian flag, not Latvian.


BTW Do you really mean 6 billion passengers a year? In Estonia?! That's something that we in Latvia had in late 1980ies - with overcrowded 10-car trains running every 5 minutes. I am pretty sure you meant "6 million" as in "6 000 000"
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Old August 20th, 2014, 09:17 AM   #98
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Indeed they have maid a typo there. They have divided the passengerKm to rail passengers but not population as should be. The right number is indeed about 365km per one latvian.

As for Estonia, the millions are what I meant.
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Old August 20th, 2014, 02:09 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BriedisUnIzlietne View Post

Soon though LDz plans to upgrade ~700 km of routes with AC electrification. And also upgrade the current 200 km of electrification from DC to AC.
But this won't include the Rīga - Sigulda line. That will be upgraded to allow 120 km/h diesel trains.
New electrification will be 2AC 50/25 kV 50 Hz. As a member of EU Latvia and LDz will follow EU-codes and the TSI, which means a new start for Latvia railway.

Besides changing existing 3 kV DC to AC routes for electrification are planned as followed:

Ventspils - Tukums - Jelgava - Krustpils - Rezekne
Aizkraukie - Plavinas - Krustpils - Daugavpils

This is mainly meant for better freight Service between Russia and baltic ports, but Liepaja is not foreseen for electrification. Also parts at the border willl be hopefully added later.

My personal hope is, that this will introduce a european standard commuter service for Riga.
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Old August 24th, 2014, 11:13 PM   #100
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Some photos of stations in the seaside town of Seaside (Jūrmala translates to Seaside)
The town has 14 stops along a single railway line, and 10 of those are less than a kilometer from the sandy beach. The railway sees trains up to every 10 minutes on some days.

Jaundubulti
One of the 4 stations that will sadly not be refurbished in 2015. Everything you see here is very Soviet.






Melluži

A traditional station with lovely wooden buildings from 1925. In 2015 it will receive high platforms, modern toilets and other fancy things (fancy for the Latvian rail traveler, at least)






Vaivari
A traditional station with wooden buildings from 1928 and a name that literally translates to "Can you?". It will also get an upgrade next year.



The baggage shed is now used, among other things, as a place to keep the rubbish bins and station staff bicycles.




It will be interesting to look at these in 2016 and see what's changed
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