LDz has completed the largest project since Latvia regained its independence Construction of a second section of railway track between Skriveri and Krustpils

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On February 4, Latvian Railways opened a second section of railway track between Skriveri and Krustpils which was part of a much larger project worth in excess of EUR 100 million. It will enable the section of handle a much higher volume of traffic, increase speeds and ensure rail safety of trains travelling from Krustpils towards Riga.

Difficult but necessary

During the implementation of this very large project, completely new rail infrastructure has been built including 56 km of track, as well as engineering facilities and systems. A new bridge over the Aiviekste river – the first railway bridge built since Latvia regained its independence – has also been built while the bridge over the Perse river has been reconstructed; the existing drainage systems and crossings have also been rebuilt.

During the work, significant changes were introduced to railway stations and stops: elevated platforms, new lighting, benches and litter bins were installed as well as walkways and wheelchair ramps for people with special needs. Station buildings were equipped with rest rooms that meet modern requirements and a new alarm system was installed.

“This long-awaited and meticulously planned project was a necessity for both the railway and Latvia,” said the President of LDz, Ugis Magonis. “It will allow the company to work more effectively ensuring a stable stream of income for the state budget and assisting development of the railway industry as a whole. In turn, passengers will definitely appreciate the rebuilt platforms and landscaping.”

Challenge for all – for LDz and business

A consortium of Skonto būve, BMGS, ACB, and Binders won the tender as the joint prime contractor.
Because the project was so technically challenging, it needed highly-qualified experts. To guarantee the expertise on the project, the intelligent engineering solutions company, SIA Fima, contributed significantly as a contractor during implementation.

“Our expertise included equipment for power supply systems, signalling equipment and telecommunications. On the modernised section of the railway track, it enabled the use of state-of-the-art technologies – the centralised automation systems with the capability of being remotely controlled from Riga and Daugavpils, new rail signalling and hot box detectors (HBD). The 21st century communication systems facilitate the daily work of railway personnel and improve the comfort of passengers. The rebuilding of the line’s overhead power supply system was of prime importance, considering the fact that there have been no significant changes in this industry since Latvia regained its independence,” said Janis Vilmanis, Chairman of the Board of SIA Fima.

When the project got underway, the volume of freight traffic running along the section had reached an annual total of 24.1 million tons which represented 97% of its maximum throughput capacity.

The total cost of the project was EUR 93.4 million; of which EUR 65.5 million was funding from the EU Cohesion Fund. However, when oversight and existing investments by LDz were taken into account, the overall cost exceeded EUR 100 million.

During implementation of the project the partners encountered several unforeseen obstacles: war-time explosives were uncovered on several occasions as well as signs of historical objects of railway accidents from the last 100 years. “Having removed the soil layer, we discovered a massive basin of diesel fuel, which, of course, we removed and cleaned up,” said Aija Poča, Head of the Project Department of LDz. “In many locations, soil characteristics that weren’t forseen by the initial exploratory design were identified, for instance the presence of peat. The soil had to be reinforced by replacing the peat with sand and gravel.”