16.4.15

THE NEW COLD WAR IS UNPROFITABLE.

An Estonian private passenger train operator, Gorail (not to be confused with Toronto's GO Transit) posts Notices of Suspension for Tallinn - Piter and Tallinn - Moscow services.  Despite the exchange rate moving against the rouble, there's dwindling interest in riding the trains.
Chief Executive Alar Pinsel said that ‘being a private company that uses its own assets, Go Rail cannot operate the routes based solely on ticket revenue.’

The ‘difficult economic and political situation in relations between Russia and the European Union has significantly affected the number of Russian tourists visiting Estonia’, said Pinsel. ‘The drop in the exchange rate of the rouble also makes travel expensive for Russian people. Without doubt, functioning of the train connection is useful for Estonia as a whole, however the routes were generating a financial loss for quite a long time’

The Tallinn – St Petersburg DMU service had been reduced from daily to twice a week on February 15. The last train on the route will depart from the Estonian capital on May 10, returning from St Petersburg the following day.

The date of the last overnight train on the Moscow route is still be confirmed, and is dependent on national passenger operator Eesti Raudtee being prepared to continue the carriage of passengers on the route. ‘We hope that Eesti Raudtee will find opportunities to continue carriage of passenger on Tallinn – Moscow route’, said Pinsel. ‘The company has expressed its will to do so.’
International Railway Journal notes that the services were introduced on an experimental basis.

The Go Rail paint scheme is a convex combination of Guilford Transportation's with the McGinnis era Boston and Maine..



It's worth noting that international trains, and more than a few long-distance trains, more commonly in the former Warsaw Pact and Captive Nations, but not unknown in the rest of Europe, are essentially diesel commuter trains, with none of the panache of the New Haven's Comet, or the Nebraska Zephyr.

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