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Project Update

Rail Baltica High-Speed Rail [free access]

March 1, 2019

Key players: The project is being developed by Estonia’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Latvia’s Ministry of Transport, and Lithuania’s Ministry of Transport and Communications.


In October 2014, the authorities established a multinational joint venture (JV), RB Rail AS, to develop and implement the project.


Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ and the Estonian Technical Regulatory Authority in Estonia; Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas SIA in Latvia; and Rail Baltica statyba UAB and Lietuvos geležinkeliai JSC in Lithuania are the national implementing bodies. 


In February 2019, the Government of Finland announced plans to establish a limited liability company, Oy Suomen Rata AB. Its subsidiary is expected to become a shareholder of RB Rail AS.


Project description: Rail Baltica is a greenfield rail transport infrastructure project that will connect Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. It is one of the priority projects of the European Union’s (EU’s) Trans-European Transport Networks (TEN-T) under the North Sea Baltic Corridor.


Background: The HSR line will span 870 km (213 km in Estonia, 265 km in Latvia, and 392 km in Lithuania). The line will connect Helsinki, Tallinn, Pärnu, Riga, Panevežys, Kaunas, Vilnius, and Warsaw.


The Government of Latvia approved the plan in August 2016, the Government of Lithuania in January 2017, and the Government of Estonia in February 2018.


Cost and financing: The estimated cost of the project is EUR5.8 billion. The EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) is expected to cover up to 85 per cent of the total cost. The remaining cost will be covered by the three countries.


As of July 2018, the project has secured a funding of EUR824 million, of which 85 per cent (EUR683 million) is provided through CEF. Of the total funds available, EUR235 million is provided to Estonia, EUR286 million to Lithuania, and EUR303 million to Latvia.


Project timeline: The project is being developed in various sections. Currently, the project is in the design phase. The designing works are expected to be completed by 2022. Construction work is scheduled to commence in 2019 and is expected to be completed by 2026.


Tracks: The tracks will be standard gauge (1,435 mm) and will comply with all technical specifications for interoperability (TSI) requirements.


Technology: The conventional double-track will be electrified at 2x25kV. The line will be equipped with the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS) Level 2.


Operational speed: The line will be designed  to have a maximum speed of 249 km/hr for passenger service and at 120 km/hr for freight. The maximum operational speed for trains will be 234 km/hr.


Contractors: The following key contractors have been appointed for the design stage:



Further, RB Rail commenced a study for the development of the Rail Baltica Energy Subsystem Procurement and Deployment Strategy. A consortium of Ingenería y Economía del Transporte (INECO) and ARDANUY Ingenería (ARDANUY) will carry out the study. The results of the study are expected by the end of 2019.


Upcoming opportunities: In total, 11 procurement procedures are planned for detailed technical designs, and tenders for seven contracts have been launched, which cover 57 per cent of the entire Rail Baltica line.


Around five contracts for provision of design work are yet to be awarded and tenders for four design contracts (two in Lithuania and Latvia each) are yet to be launched.


Further, contracts for major construction works and infrastructure systems (rolling stock, signalling, fare system, etc.) are yet to be launched.


Recent developments:



(1 EUR [Euro] = 1.14 USD)