The Lux Express Group, an operator of international coach routes serving the capital of Estonia, is preparing to launch a railway route between Tallinn and St Petersburg within the next few years, and plans to acquire two luxury Stadler trains for this new route.
According to Hannes Saarpuu, chairman of the company's management board, the company's present good economic position has encouraged the board to look to the future and invest in promoting its coach services, and also to enter into a new field, namely the railway business. Within the next few years the Lux Express Group proposes to invest in product innovations worth over twenty million euros.
"We have negotiated contracts worth nearly four million euros in order to acquire ten coaches this year,” said Mr Saarpuu. “These coaches contain new features, such as an individual touch screen media system for each passenger and more leg room for passengers at the back of the coach by placing the seats diagonally, facing the aisle. The number of destinations that we serve will also increase - Lux Express Group's coaches will soon travel to Berlin and Minsk. Then, in the autumn, we plan to enter the market on routes between Helsinki and St Petersburg, where we see the chance to compete with the railway, which we think is unreasonably expensive," he continued.
According to him, the number of passengers increasing year by year on the coach route between Tallinn and St Petersburg indicates that it is no longer possible to satisfy the increasing demand for quality transport on that route by relying solely on coach travel. In order for Estonia to take the next step in the tourism market in St Petersburg, Mr Saarpuu said that the company must diversify and expand the transport options between the two cities, and added that the only solution was to have a modern, passenger-orientated train.
"Estonia needs a modern international transport system, which includes using trains,“ he continued. “The question is how to create these solutions under economically reasonable conditions and how much the state should contribute. With regard to St Petersburg we are convinced that market growth, our company's strong position in Russia, and the possibility of combining together coach and rail travel into one logistical whole creates the necessary prerequisites for putting such a project into effect on a commercial basis."
"However, it is important to note that an international project of this size, where the investment is in tens of millions of euros and the payoff period is fifteen years in the future, needs clear political support in both Estonia and Russia."
“Comfort on the train will be guaranteed by luxurious and distinct interior design, connecting doors which separate compartments and deaden noise, extra baggage space in the compartments, wheelchair and pram access, three toilets, one of which can be accessed by wheelchairs, bicycle storage, a café, an individual media system, and internet connections. In addition, business class passengers would have the chance of enjoying a private lounge, free newspapers and food, as well as more leg room and other benefits.”
“Estimated prices are 45 euros for a tourist class train ticket and 65 euros for business class passengers. The present timeline provides for the new trains to start running in the first half of 2015."
The Lux Express Group is a network of international transport companies which operates throughout Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia. Through its exclusive Lux Express and affordable Simple Express brands, the Group offers its clients comfortable and quality travelling solutions.