Estonia, Railways, Transport

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 06.06.2020, 23:48

Estonian local govts want faster passenger rail links

BC, Tallinn, 21.05.2020.Print version
- Estonian local governments' cooperation organizations have made a proposal to conduct in parallel with railway electrification also the reconstruction works required for promptly increasing the speed of passenger trains after said electrification, writes LETA/BNS.

According to the proposal, the reconstruction required for improving the speed of passenger trains to up to 160 kilometers per hour should be carried out in parallel with electrification works on the Tallinn-Narva, Tapa-Tartu, Tartu-Valga and Tartu-Koidula railway sections, the Union of Harju County Municipalities said.

Train speed on the Tallinn-Narva and Tapa-Tartu sections could be increased to up to 240 kilometers per hour, according to the local governments. Passenger train traffic and scheduling should be planned in view of increased speed and demand.

"[The state-owned Estonian railway company] Estonian Railways will increase the speed of passenger trains on the Tallinn-Tartu and Tapa-Narva sections to 135 kilometers per hour, but this will not be enough for developing modern passenger train transport," Andre Sepp, chairman of the Union of Harju County Municipalities, said.

"Greater speeds in many sections require different geometry of the rail corridor, including greater curve radii. The only way to carry out these works is to do it together with the electrification of the infrastructure, but to this end, fundamental decisions need to be taken in the near future," Sepp said.

Fast, frequent and convenient rail links reduce the burden on main highways, signatories to the proposal said, recommending to also weigh the restoration of the Haapsalu-Rohukula rail connection, the reconstruction of the Valga-Koidula section and construction of the Tallinn ring railroad and the Rakvere-Kunda link.

Estonian Railways together with the state-owned passenger train operator Elron have set an objective that passengers must be able to take an electric train from Tallinn to Tartu by the end of 2024. Estonian Railways have also announced the procurement of design work for railroad electrification.

Signatories to the joint statement include the unions of Harju County, East-Viru County, West-Viru County, Polva County, Tartu County and Valga County municipalities as well as entrepreneurship and development centers in Voru and Jogeva counties. 

The proposal has been sent to the parliament, government, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Estonian Railways.

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