On 8 March 2016, Latvian Minister of Transport Uldis Augulis, together with the Chairman of the Board of Latvian Railways SJSC Edvīns Bērziņš, inaugurated Šķirotava marshalling yard’s modernised gravity hump in Riga. Thanks to funding from the Latvian government and the European Union’s Cohesion Fund, it is now one of the most modern marshalling complexes amongst the Baltic states and in 1,520 mm-gauge railways.
“Riga’s Šķirotava yard is the largest and most significant railway junction for the sorting and sending of freight trains to Riga’s port stations. The Šķirotava hum modernisation project was one of the most technically difficult projects ever realised by LDz, and as part of this project we have implemented several new technological and IT solutions. This project is one of the preconditions to make our company and transit routes to Latvian ports more competitive,” emphasised E. Bērziņš.
“High quality railway infrastructure, as well as the provision of modern transport and logistics services, is very important for attracting cargo consignments and increasing our turnover, and thereby boosting economic growth. For this reason, I am truly delighted by the results of Šķirotava yard’s modernisation, because it promotes both cargo processing and facilitates the work of company employees. Every large-scale project and investment that makes railway capacity more effective is important not only for the sector’s growth, but also for the growth of the national economy in general,” said U. Augulis.
“Increasing capacity, efficiency and competitiveness – these are significant factors for both the success of business and the country in general. We are happy that, together with our partners, we have successfully reconstructed the gravity hump and also contributed to improving the process of handling wagons in Šķirotava station, allowing the transit sector to work more effectively,” explained Svetlana Afanasjeva, project contractor and Chairwoman of the BMGS Board.
“We at Siemens are very proud of our contribution to a fully automated marshalling hump that is the first of its kind in Latvia. We would like to express our gratitude to Latvian Railways SJSC, lead contractor BMGS JSC, and to all those sub-contractors and partners who successfully collaborated with us on the Šķirotava marshalling hump project. We are delighted that the new and innovative Siemens MSR32 management system secures optimised performance, credibility, and lower noise levels, as well as reducing maintenance costs”, said Markus Zahmeijers, Senior Vice President for rail automation at Siemens.
The total cost of the project exceeded 40.3 million euros, of which 24 million were contributed by the European Union’s Cohesion Fund, 6.85 million by the Latvian government, and 9.53 million by Latvian Railways.
As a result of the project’s realisation, Šķirotava station’s marshalling hump has seen its processing capacity increased to up to 3,500 wagons every 24 hours, the station’s noise levels reduced, five kilometres of new rail tracks constructed, the management and control system modernised, and a new rail brake system installed with 30 new retarders for slowing down the wagons.
The project involved implementing a centralised microprocessor control system for automatically sorting and manoeuvring wagons and regulating their speed. Furthermore, modernisation work has been carried out on the power supply system, telecommunications system, lighting, and the air-blowing system for removing snow from devices that would otherwise slow down the wagons, and a new technical diagnostics engineer and yardmaster have been brought in. A new automated electric system for clearing snow from turnouts, signals, a system for measuring wagons’ weight, speed-measuring devices, wheel detectors, and track occupancy detectors have also been installed. Old railway tracks and turnouts whose condition no longer met technical and operational requirements were reconstructed, and railway tracks in the marshalling yard have been rearranged.
During the reconstruction work, train sorting was relocated to Daugavpils, Rēzekne and other railway junctions in Riga.
The project’s lead contractor was BMGS JSC, but the yard’s centralisation and management system was manufactured by Siemens.