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HomeLithuaniaFirst passenger train on reopened Vilnius-Riga route departs from Lithuanian capital

First passenger train on reopened Vilnius-Riga route departs from Lithuanian capital

The first train of the reopened Vilnius-Riga direct route of LTG Link, the passenger arm of Lietuvos Gelezinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG), Lithuania’s state-owned railway company, departed from Vilnius Railway Station on Wednesday morning fully packed.

Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte and Transport Minister Marius Skuodis also took the first train to the Latvian capital. In Riga, they will meet their Latvian counterparts, Prime Minister Evika Silina and Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens.

According to Simonyte, the Vilnius-Riga train will be a complementary alternative for traveling to the Latvian capital, while rail travel is a “European habit”.

“Many of us have probably tried different ways of traveling between Vilnius and Riga – we have flown by plane, driven by car, taken the bus. Now these options will be complemented by perhaps the most sustainable way of traveling, which is by rail,” Simonyte told a presentation of the route at Vilnius Railway Station on early Wednesday morning.

Transport Minister Skuodis pointed out the Vilnius-Riga passenger train stopping in a town like Joniskis is also part of regional policy. He hopes that in the future this route will be complemented by a connection to Tallinn, and that there will be more routes to the neighboring country.

“We will need to extend the train from Riga to Tallinn, and we really want to do that, and we will need further steps by the three countries. I very much hope that we will have … not only a train to Riga, but also a simultaneous train from Riga to make traveling even more convenient”, Skuodis said.

“What we will also need is a connection via Daugavpils so that we can easily reach Latvia’s largest city,” the minister added.

LTG CEO Egidijus Lazauskas said that in Lithuania, the reopened route between Vilnius and Riga will be subsidized by the state budget, while in Latvia it will be operated commercially.

Direct trains to Riga will run daily, leaving Vilnius for Riga in the morning, at 6.30 a.m., and returning in the afternoon. It will take just over 4 hours to get from Vilnius to Riga by train, which will be similar to a car trip.

The train will stop in Kaisiadorys, Siauliai and Joniskis in Lithuania, and Jelgava in Latvia.

A ticket to Riga costs 24 euros, or 34 euros in a first-class carriage.

In mid-December, LTG Link received a safety certificate from the European Union Agency for Railways for its operations in Latvia, allowing it to carry passengers in the neighboring country.

Skuodis has said that the train between Vilnius and Riga is one of the most important rail transport projects of the year for him personally.

Previously, a direct train between Vilnius and Riga ran until January 2004. From September 2018 until March 2020, the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Vilnius and Riga were connected by a Ukrainian railway train running between Kyiv and the Latvian capital. According to LTG, Vilnius and Riga were also connected by longer train routes from other national carriers on an occasional basis.

The train route between Vilnius and Riga was agreed by the transport ministers of the three Baltic States in October. It is expected to be extended to Tallinn in the future.

Source: BNS

(Reproduction of BNS information in mass media and other websites without written consent of BNS is prohibited.)

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