Swiss-made train brings first passengers to Ljubljana
Ljubljana - As public passenger transportation resumed on Tuesday as part of the first major easing of coronavirus restrictions in Slovenia, a new modern Swiss Stadler train brought first passengers from Kamnik to Ljubljana Central Station.
Joining the passengers for part of the journey, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec noted the significance of modernisation of the railway infrastructure.
Commenting on Twitter, he said well developed passenger transfer was high on the list of his ministry's priorities. "We're happy to be able to experience this in practice today," he tweeted.
The train is one of the first five diesel trains that the Slovenian railway operator formally took over from Stadler in late November. They will link Ljubljana with Novo Mesto and Kamnik, and with Kočevje, once the service there opens.
According to Dušan Mes, director general of Slovenske Železnice, the new train is from a series of 52 to be brought into service by 2022; 21 are diesel engine trains, 21 electric and 10 will be electric double deckers.
"These are the most advanced regional trains known in this part of Europe, reaching the speeds of up to 140 kilometres an hour. They are comfortable, adapted to people with disabilities and have sufficient room for bicycles," he told the STA.
The railways company is planning tenders to buy 15 to 20 more trains so it should have more than 70 new ones, meaning that two-thirds of the rolling stock will have been modernised.
Slovenske Železnice ordered the first 26 passenger trains from Stadler in spring 2018 and another 26 were ordered in May 2019, at the combined cost of EUR 320 million excluding VAT.
The new trains are expected to reduce travel times by up to 10%. Regional services should thus become more frequent with fewer stops, offering greater capacity and reliability and more comfort.
All new trains will support modern information and communication technology, affording mobile phone and portable computer charging points, Wi-Fi signal, automated air-conditioning etc.
Passenger transport resumed after being suspended for more than a month. Mes said it was running disruption free. "There are adjustments, but I think passengers and the staff are used to them," he said.
If passengers flout precautionary measures they are made to leave the train.