Rail Baltica: A transformational megaproject for North-East Europe
Rail Baltica – a new, fast, conventional, European gauge, mixed traffic, ERTMS-equipped railway line with design speeds of 240km/h – is not only the Baltic region’s project of the century. As Kaspars Briškens, Head of Business Development at Rail Baltica explains, it is also one that exemplifies the priority pillars emphasised by European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc.
DURING a recent meeting with the transport sector in January 2018, at the Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER), European Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, reiterated the key priorities of the EU transport policy with a view towards the new EU multi-annual financial framework: Decarbonisation, digitalisation, multimodality, investment, people and efficient markets. These pillars also serve as the unifying motives behind the ambitious TEN-T Core Network Corridor approach to streamline Europe’s connectivity. A world-class transport infrastructure is both a prerequisite for the EU’s global competitiveness, as well as a platform for sustainable growth opportunities.
Rail Baltica is a greenfield rail transport infrastructure project with a goal to integrate the Baltic States in the European rail network. The project includes five European Union countries – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and indirectly also Finland. It will connect Helsinki, Tallinn, Pärnu, Riga, Panevežys, Kaunas, Vilnius and Warsaw.
Rail Baltica will deliver the infrastructural and commercial prerequisites for high-speed rail to emerge as an environmentally sustainable alternative for Baltic passenger and freight mobility, thereby contributing to European efforts in decarbonisation. The project will generate socio-economic benefits of air pollution reduction and climate change mitigation to the tune of more than €6 billion – an amount that is equivalent to the currently estimated project CAPEX. In other words, the environmental benefits alone outweigh the project costs.
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