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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 30.05.2020, 15:19

Rail Baltic will provide a fast rail connection between the Baltic capitals every two hours

BC, Riga, 13.03.2019.Print version
In accordance with the operational plan of the Rail Baltic railway details of which were published on Tuesday, high-speed trains from Tallinn to Warsaw and from Tallinn to Vilnius are estimated to run four times per day once the line is launched and up to six times per day within 10 years of operations, the Rail Baltic joint venture RB Rail AS said BC.

Additionally, up to ten trains per day will run on Vilnius-Kaunas-Warsaw route. As a result, Rail Baltic will provide a fast rail connection between the Baltic capitals every two hours.

The plan also includes two night trains on the route Tallinn-Riga-Kaunas-Warsaw-Berlin and Vilnius-Kaunas-Warsaw-Berlin, enabling passengers to travel further to other destinations in Europe.

Furthermore, travelers will be able to reach Riga International Airport from the Riga Central Station in around 10 minutes, with minimum one train every 30 minutes.

The frequency of the high-speed trains is based on the anticipated passenger demand, which was assessed in the Rail Baltic Operational Plan for 2026–2056. Developed by the German company ETC Gauff Mobility GmbH, in consortium with the Danish company COWI A/S and Germany's Institut fur Bahntechnik GmbH, the plan reflects a modern, integrated approach, where market demand and development are set as the main criteria after which the timetable is defined.

"The main outcome of the operational plan is to indicate how the Rail Baltic infrastructure will meet the transport demand in medium and long term, guaranteeing capacity for all types of train services. This plan will be used to ensure that Rail Baltic track is used efficiently from the first day of its operations and allowing to scale up passenger and cargo services after the phase-in period," said Jean-Marc Bedmar, head of systems and operation department at RB Rail AS.

According to the plan, two to three cargo trains per hour with a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour will run on the Rail Baltic line. The estimated axle load of the trains is 25 tons and the length of trains 1,050 meters. To facilitate freight movement on the line, three large-scale multimodal terminals are being developed -- in Muuga in Estonia, in Salaspils in Latvia and in Palemonas in Lithuania.

It is expected that 80% of freight trains on Rail Baltica will be intermodal trains, allowing logistic operators to move the freight from roads to rail, by putting containers and trucks on wagons. Important reduction of the air pollution and road traffic congestion are expected, as well as improvement of the overall road traffic safety.

The high-level assessment carried out within the operational plan reveals a potential of regional train development in all three Baltic states, with maximum speed 200 kilometers per hour. This means that Rail Baltic tracks can be used not only for international train services but also for regional and cross-border regional services, bringing the fast and clean transport mode to different locations throughout the whole Rail Baltic corridor.

For example, the plan suggests a sufficient passenger demand to run regional train services from Bauska to Riga, from Salacgriva to Riga, from Parnu to Tallinn, and from Marijampole through Kaunas to Vilnius. Furthermore, the plan indicates a feasible demand for regional cross-border traffic, such as from Marijampole, Lithuania to the Latvian capital Riga, or from Tallinn to Riga airport. It should be noted, however, that the future of the regional traffic development on Rail Baltic will require additional studies and governmental decisions.

Rail Baltic is a double track, European standard 1,435 mm gauge electrified railway for passenger and freight transport to be built from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border. The overall length of the railway will be 870 kilometers.

RB Rail AS is the central coordinator for the Rail Baltic project. RB Rail shareholders include the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian railway companies, UAB Rail Baltica Statyba, SIA Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas and Rail Baltic Estonia OU.

On Feb. 1, 2019 the government of Finland decided to establish a limited liability company Oy Suomen Rata AB. Its subsidiary, named Rail Baltica, is expected to become a shareholder of RB Rail AS, the joint venture of the Rail Baltic project.

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