Rail Baltica is a new high-speed conventional European standard gauge (1435 mm) double-track electrified and ERTMS-equipped railway line with an operational speed of 234 km/h. It runs from Tallinn through Pärnu, Rīga, Panevėžys, Kaunas and on to the Lithuania-Poland border, with an additional connection from Kaunas to Vilnius.
The vision for the project first appeared during the Pan-European transport conferences in Prague, Crete and Helsinki from 1991–1997, and in 2011 the three Baltic Prime Ministers signed a joint statement and commitment to the project.
The expected core outcome of the project is an 870 km railway line, suitable for both passenger and freight transport. Related railway infrastructure includes:
- international and regional passenger terminals
- freight terminals
- maintenance and rolling stock facilities.
It will be interoperable with the European TEN-T Network and competitive in terms of service offerings when compared with other modes of transport in the region for both passengers and freight.
Rail Baltica will provide a high-speed rail connection between Baltic capitals every 2 hours, with exceptionally fast travel times.
Tallinn–Rīga | 1h 42 min
Rīga–Vilnius | 1h 52 min
Tallinn–Vilnius | 3h 38 min
Vilnius–Warsaw | 4h 7 min
The Rail Baltica Global Project is an initiative of great significance for the Baltic States, and at the same time it adds value to Europe as a whole.
Rail Baltica Benefits : An all-European project
Rail Baltica, part of TEN-T network - Rail Baltica is a vital element of the North Sea-Baltic Corridor, one of the priority axes of the Trans-European Trans- port Network (TEN-T). This presents the geostrategic opportunity to connect the Eastern part of the Baltic Sea region to Western Europe, truly integrating the Baltic States into the European transport system.
The North Sea-Baltic Corridor will provide the basis for the large-scale deployment of new technologies and innovation, which can help enhance the overall efficiency of the European transport sector as well as help reduce its carbon footprint. For instance, well-developed intelligent transport systems (ITS) would be included in various parts of the corridor.
Helping Europe achieve its climate goals - ‘Modal shift’ is one of the 10 goals from the EU’s White Paper on Transport (2011), which is aimed at achieving a competitive and sustainable transport system by 2050, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As part of this plan, a total of 30% of road freight over 300 km will shift to rail, waterborne or other modes of transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050, facilitated by efficient and green freight corridors. Rail Baltica will contribute to this by creating modern and sustainable railway infrastructure according to the European standards.
Developing a new economic corridor - the project will also help to create an economic corridor in the region by vastly improving cross-border trade potential, linking up supply chains with some of the biggest ports in Europe. The Rail Baltica Global Project will be one of the key elements in the North Sea-Baltic Corridor, coordinating cross-border project implementation between member states and optimising infrastructure while establishing an effective link with Central Europe. Thanks to average reduced freight travel times of 16%, businesses that use Rail Baltica are expected to see an increase in profits.
The economic boost for the EU will be substantial—initial evaluation shows that investments in completing the Core Network Corridors alone will generate some EUR 4.6 trillion of cumulated GDP from 2016-2030, followed by 1.8 percent additional annual growth from 2030. The number of job-years would reach around 13 million, and 7 million tons of CO2 will be reduced.
Business opportunity for European companies - Suppliers from several countries (such as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Slovakia, Spain, and the UK) have already been involved in the Global Project—and they are setting a new service standard in a range of disciplines related to the railway sector. International expertise has provided the best solutions for creating design guidelines, developing business and operational plans, conducting legal and environmental studies, implementing risk management and the BIM strategy, along with other practices essential for the development of Rail Baltica.
As the Rail Baltica project progresses, it is creating many opportunities for future cooperation with suppliers in infrastructure development, engineering and construction supervision, railway operations, maintenance, training future staff, as well as enabling an exchange of experience.
Improving mobility - this project fulfils many goals of the European infrastructure and mobility policy—it connects the Eastern and Western parts of the EU (as well as the peripheral regions to the centre), it creates corridors that cross and connect many member states, it switches freight cargo from road to rail, and it supports sustainable transport corridors, just to name a few.
It also promotes the new military mobility concept, adding a key infrastructure connection to improve the security dimension of the European Union.
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