Rail investment and development is a priority in Estonia
4 June 2014 • Author(s): Ahti Asmann, Chairman of the Management Board at AS Eesti Radutee
Ahti Asmann, Chairman of the Management Board at AS Eesti Radutee explains that a series of major improvements have been carried out to the railways in Estonia over recent years, and 2014 is set to continue this trend. Following the recent separation of the country’s rail infrastructure and cargo enterprises, the next aim is to bring about extreme changes in the quality of passenger traffic in Estonia. Already seen in early-2014 was the opening of a brand new passenger train park, plus the approval of the Estonian Government’s Development Plan of Transportation 2014-2020, which further demonstrates the higher goals for the development of railway transportation in the country.
Close co-operation is vital in an open railway market AS Eesti Raudtee – Estonian Railways Ltd – was one of the first railway companies in Europe to implement the legal separation of its railway infrastructure and operating companies, derived from discussions of principles of the 4th Railway Package of the European Commission, which covers standards and authorisation for rolling stock, independent management of infrastructure, liberalisation of domestic passenger services, plus workforce skills.
The idea of separating network owners and rolling stock operators is to reform the rail sector in a way that improves competition in the sector by creating independent and equal opportunities to all railway enterprises, and opening the market. It is critical to remove sources that can cause conflicts of interest whilst sustaining the infrastructure company’s control over all functions essential to ensure effective operation of the railway network and performance of the central role as a railway administrator.