Cornerstone laid for Rail Baltica √úlemiste passenger terminal

  • 2024-05-30

Today, the cornerstone was ceremoniously laid for the Rail Baltica Ülemiste Passenger Terminal, which will be named Linda. This modern hub for trains and buses, conveniently connected by tram to the airport, city center, and port, is set to be completed in 2028.

The terminal construction, which began last fall, has reached the cornerstone laying stage. The event was honored by the presence of Director-General for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) at the European Commission Magda Kopczynska, Estonia's Minister of Climate Kristen Michal, CEO of Rail Baltic Estonia Anvar Salomets, CEO of the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail Marko Kivila, representative of Zaha Hadid Architects and one of the authors of the terminal's architectural design Michele Salvi, CEO of Merko Ehitus Eesti Jaan Mäe, and CEO of KMG Infra Indrek Pappel.

"We have dreamed of a quick connection to Europe since the time of Lennart Meri," noted Minister of Climate Kristen Michal. "This year is significant for Rail Baltica's construction. Besides laying the cornerstone for the Ülemiste terminal, the main track construction has also begun. By the end of this year, work will be underway on one-third, nearly 70 kilometers, of the main track, and nearly half, or 105 kilometers, will be covered by contracts," he highlighted the progress. "Building a quality connection brings a lot of work to the infrastructure sector and, once completed, offers a vital new opportunity for the people and economy of Estonia."

"Rail Baltica is a European, Baltic, and Estonian project. The Baltic States have to be connected to the European railway network – for the security of goods, for the ease of travelling, for economic development and, las but not least, for our common European security. The European Commission has and will continue to be a strong supporter of Rail Baltica," said Magda Kopczynska, Director-General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, in Tallinn today.

Rail Baltic Estonia's Chairman of the Board, Anvar Salomets, acknowledged that reaching this point has not been easy: "Just a few years ago, it would have been hard to believe that we would be celebrating the laying of the cornerstone for the Ülemiste joint terminal with so many supporters of the railway connection. However, the implementation of the Rail Baltica project in Estonia has so far shown that once we start building, it is possible to act effectively and efficiently. By no later than four years from now, I hope to invite everyone to the opening of the Rail Baltica Ülemiste terminal."

“Last week, it was announced that the main line construction work for Rail Baltica is also starting in Latvia, followed by a construction progress update in Lithuania and a visit to mainline construction sites, which are visibly taking shape. Today, we are laying the groundwork for the next visible steps in continuing the Rail Baltica Ülemiste terminal, which is an integral part of the Rail Baltica mainline in Estonia. We need to accelerate construction works, and the chosen approach for further delivery of the project will allow us to do so. This year, we will see more than 150 kilometers of the main Rail Baltica line being constructed, and we expect strong cooperation from our project partners and contractors to achieve faster progress," said Marko Kivila, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of RB Rail AS.

Jaan Mäe, Chairman of the Board of Merko Ehitus Eesti, said on behalf of the builders Merko Ehitus Eesti and KMG Infra: "It is a great honor to literally lay the foundation for the future. Rail Baltica brings a new era to Estonia, and many construction engineers, skilled workers, and partners are contributing to its realization. I sincerely thank everyone who has helped bring the first construction works of the Ülemiste terminal to this point. The construction of the terminal's underground part continues at a rapid pace to ensure everything proceeds and is completed as planned."

The architectural design of the Ülemiste joint terminal was created by the internationally renowned Zaha Hadid Architects in collaboration with the Estonian design company Esplan. The first stage of the terminal's construction, with a contract value of 45 million euros, is currently underway, involving builders Merko Ehitus Eesti AS and KMG Infra OÜ. In the first stage, the underground support structures, technical rooms, and tunnels for pedestrians and light traffic will be constructed.

In the subsequent stages, the public areas surrounding the building, roads, streets, parking lots, and tramway, which are currently being designed, as well as the terminal building itself, will be built. Additionally, the main track and many other objects such as viaducts and ecoducts are already under construction as part of Rail Baltica.

To mark this significant milestone, the first mobility conference curated by Rail Baltica will also be held tomorrow at Ülemiste in Tallinn, where experts from Estonia and Europe will discuss how close is too far, how fast is too slow, and what can be dreamed of and realized in Estonia.

About Rail Baltica 

Rail Baltica is one of Europe's largest high-speed infrastructure projects, aiming to establish a modern and sustainable rail link that connects the Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania with the European rail network. It is also a part of the trans-European transport corridor.

Rail Baltica will be a fully electrified, double-track railway with a standard gauge of 1435 mm and will be equipped with ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System) and designed to meet European standards. With a design speed of 249 km/h, Rail Baltica will significantly reduce travel times between the Baltic States and major European cities. It will serve as a modern infrastructure for passenger, freight, and military mobility, promoting accessibility and facilitating business, tourism, and cultural exchange. Additionally, the project will enhance the Baltic region's position as a vital transit hub, fostering stronger trade connections and promoting regional cooperation.

About RB Rail AS 

RB Rail AS is a multinational joint venture of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania established to lead and coordinate the implementation of the Rail Baltica Global Project, the first infrastructure development project of this scale in the Baltic region. More about Rail Baltica global project: www.railbaltica.org