News2019.12.09 16:00

Lithuania rebuilds railway track to Latvia

The rebuilding of a 19-kilometre railway section between Lithuania's northern town of Mažeikiai and Reņģe, in Latvia, is nearing completion, says the CEO of its major contractor Vitras-S.

The railway section was dismantled a decade ago, but the European Commission slammed a fine on Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, or LG) for stifling competition.

Mikhail Lipkin, the CEO of Vitras–S, a railway construction and repairs company owned by Estonia's group Skinest Rail, says that although the company’s agreement with LG gives until March 2020 to complete the rebuilding, it plans to finish it as early as this year.

“Everything goes as planned [...]. The technical commission had some comments initially and we are fixing those things, but everything goes as scheduled,” Lipkin told BNS.

Gintaras Liubinas, a representative of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai, says the finishing work is underway at the Reņģe section. In his words, the company's commission supervising the project will decide on December 16 whether it is possible to connect the signaling installations to the general system and resume traffic soon.

In March, Vitras-S signed a contract worth 11.35 million euros with Lietuvos Geležinkeliai to rebuild the Reņģe track.

The project includes rebuilding 19 kilometers of track, repairing or rebuilding five level crossings and six bridges, and building or rebuilding traffic management systems.

The track is being rebuilt in line with LG's commitment to the European Commission, which imposed a fine of almost 28 million euros on the state railway company in late 2017 for hindering competition in the rail freight market.

The railway line was in the past used by the Mažeikiai-based oil refinery Orlen Lietuva, owned by Poland's Orlen, to transport its oil products to Latvia.

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