Latvia - General Information

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Country Name

Latvia (Latvija)

National Railway System

Latvijas Dzelzceļš (LDz).

National Railway Operator

JSC “Pasažieru vilciens” is the domestic passenger operator.

Language

Latvian.

Currency

Euro

UIC code

numeric 25; alpha LV

Timetable

Journey Planner

Train schedule

Downloadable Timetable

  • Domestic Services:

Basic train timetable. Click on the image under either Train departure schedule from Riga station or Train arrival schedule at Riga station.

  • International services:

Train Timetable and select either "Depart from Riga" or "Arrive in Riga".

Printed Timetable

The Iekšzemes Pasažieru Vilcienu Kustības Saraksts, which is entirely in Latvian, does not include international trains.

Engineering Information

IZMAIŅAS

Bus Information

Autoosta covers the country.

Lux Express operates coach routes in the Baltic region.

Maps

Printed Maps

Web-based Maps

Ticketing

There are no known network tickets, but fares are cheap. Tickets are issued for specific trains or for a timed validity.

Infrastructure

Infrastructure Authority

  • LDz Infrastruktūra is responsible for the infrastructure.
  • LatRailNet, a Latvijas dzelzceļš (LDz) subsidiary, was set up on 27th December 2010 to allocate railway capacity and determine infrastructure charges.

Network Statement

The Network Statement page has a downloadable Network Statement for most years.

Gauge

"Russian" gauge (1520mm) except the Gulbene - Alūksne line (750mm)

Electrification

3 kV dc.

The first phase of an electrification programme by which Latvia will convert to 25 kV ac was approved in December 2017. It covers

  • Rīga - Aizkraukle - Krustpils - Daugavpils. Rīga - Aizkraukle is currently electrified at 3 kV dc.
  • Krustpils - Rēzekne

and is to be completed by 2023.

The status of the original plan, whereby Krustpils - Jelgava - Ventspils and Liepāja was also to be electrified in the first phase, is unclear. A subsequent phase involved electrifying Daugavpils - Indra (Belarus border).

Rule of the road

Most lines are single track, but on double track sections right hand running applies.

Distances

Distances are given to the nearest km in Annex 8 of the Network Statement.

Other Railways

Gulbene - Alūksne Railway www.banitis.lv

Tourist lines

  • High Seas Fisheries Museum, Ventspils (600mm)
  • Mežaparks Pioneer Railway, Rīga (750mm) remains in situ but abandoned [locos transferred to Gulbene - Alūksne line]

Metro

None. The initial phase of a Metro was planned during the 1980s but has come to be seen as ecologically unsuitable (as well as having the taint of the Soviet era), so now seems unlikely to be developed.

Trams

Rīga, Daugavpils, Liepāja

Recent and Future Changes

Lithuania plans to extend Vilnius - Turmantas trains over the border to Daugavpils at weekends in 2018. However, the Latvian authorities had not approved this as at December 2017.

The agreement on the development of the Standard Gauge Rail Baltica line through Latvia was ratified by Parliament on 22 June 2017.

The (Rīga -) Jelgava - Reņge service was withdrawn on 23 February 2010 after the Lithuanians lifted the tracks on their side of the border in 2009 to prevent oil trains from the huge Mažeikiai refinery exporting their products via Ventspils. This action was declared illegal by an EU court who fined LG who then announced in October 2017 that it would be rebuilt "shortly".

From 30 May 2010 the Vilnius - Sankt Peterburg train ran only between Vilnius and Rēzekne-2, where it combined with Riga - Sankt Peterburg train, thus effecting the closure of Rēzekne-1. It reverted to using Rēzekne-1 on 1 June 2012, running direct between there and Kleperova and ceasing to use Rēzekne-2. However, this service was withdrawn completely at the end of May 2015. The Riga - Sankt Peterburg train was combined with the Riga - Moskva train from 25 October 2015, thus diverting it via Zilupe and withdrawing the passenger service between Rēzekne and Kārsava.

From 1 June 2011 a service was reinstated between Riga and Minsk, reopening to passengers the border crossing at Indra. Between 1 June 2012 and 25 October 2015 it was combined with the Riga - Sankt Peterburg train as far as Daugavpils, after which the Sankt Peterburg train was combined with the Riga - Moskva train.

From 1 February 2011 a daily service was reinstated between Plavinas and Madona. This is extended to/from Gulbene on limited dates during the summer and at certain other peak times such as Easter.

In September 2009 LDz announced its decision to dismantle the Liepāja – Ventspils, Saurieši - Ērgli, Ieriķi - Gulbene and Gulbene - Vecumi (Russian border) lines as it is impossible to reopen them owing to the poor condition of the track, some of which has been stolen.

Cross-border passenger services from Valka/Lugaži to Valga (Estonia) were reinstated on 25 April 2008.

Outside the Rīga suburban (electrified) area, passenger services saw a serious decline, with service reductions and line closures since independence, mainly because line speeds are relatively slow and therefore uncompetitive with road over trunk routes. Also, heavy - and profitable - freight traffic, particularly on the transit route to ports, left no paths for passenger trains.

Special notes

Some words which may be of use:

  • elektrovilcieni = electric (suburban) multiple unit trains, operating to the following destinations from Rīga: Skulte; Aizkraukle; Jelgava; Tukums 2 via Dubulti.
  • dīzeļvilcieni = diesel (country) trains (at a fare scale approx. 30% higher than elektrovilcieni); apart from international trains, principally multiple units
  • darba dienās = SSuX
  • [timetable note] * (reading "vilcieni, apzīmēti ar "zvaigznīti", tiks norīkoti pēc īpašas pavēles", or similar) indicates need to enquire for dates of operation
  • kursēs līdz = terminates at
  • atcelts = cancelled
  • no = from or departure
  • gala stacija = terminus or destination
  • nepietur = not stopping (platform departure posters usually assume "all stations" unless otherwise shown)
  • celā = journey duration

See also