Head of Digital Transformation and Innovation at Estonian Railways
How do you bring a 150-year-old railway company into the future? Estonian Railways Ltd, a state-owned company that’s been operating since 1870, ensures the smooth operation, development, and maintenance of the entire country’s railway infrastructure, as well as efficient traffic management throughout. An additional layer of this is acting as a partner in resolving cross-border issues and setting standards.
As the owner of the railway infrastructure, Estonian Railways holds a central role in the functioning of the transit sector, at the helm of maintaining a competitive situation both in railway passenger and cargo transport. But what really sets it apart as embracing the future is its environmental awareness credentials, operating above and beyond the basic objectives of a run-of-the-mill railway company. From the year 2019, Estonian Railways has been awarded with the Corporate Responsibility Gold level award, which is the highest reward granted to Estonian companies that care about the environment, wishing to contribute more to society than required by either legislation or societal norms.
The vision of Estonian Railway Ltd is to be the region’s most advanced railway infrastructure manager. To this end, it has embarked upon a very ambitious investment plan for the current decade that includes different projects for the modernisation and electrification of its infrastructure.
Discussing this transformation is Aleksandr Zaitsev, the Head of its Digital Transformation and Innovation Department. Zaitsev is responsible for the digital transformation of work processes within the infrastructure business unit, alongside the implementation of new technological solutions.
Estonian Railways’ plan to electrify the entire rail network by 2028
During the first major stages of the electrification project, railways from Tallinn through Tapa to Tartu and Narva will be electrified. At the moment, a large number of preliminary projects have already been completed, while the majority of building permits have been issued for the Aegviidu-Tapa-Tartu section.
At the beginning of this year, the company signed a contract with two companies – GRK Suomi OY and GRK Eesti AS – for the construction of the contact network and transmission substations for the Aegviidu-Tapa-Tartu section. According to the contract, the Tartu direction must be electrified by the end of next year. As such, Estonian Railways has planned the procurement of the Tapa-Narva section for 2024, and, if everything goes as planned, electric trains will be able to run between Tapa and Narva from the end of 2026.
The project is ambitious, but achievable, and has several goals.
The first is to reduce the impact of the transport sector on the environment. Estonian Railways already only buys electricity from renewable sources, which then supplies all current electric train traffic. Another goal is to increase the speed of traffic on the railway and reduce train travel times, both of which will make travelling on the railway faster and more comfortable. The third goal is to improve the living environment of people living near the railway as well as companies operating close by, through noise reduction and traffic vibration monitoring. This is what streamlining looks like.
Read the full story HERE.