Improving Europe’s Connectivity: Rail Baltica and Správa Železnic Discuss High-Speed Rail Agenda for North-East Europe

  • 2024-03-19

An exchange visit between Rail Baltica delivery organizations and Správa železnic, the national railway infrastructure manager in the Czech Republic, took place in Riga, Latvia on 18 March.  The event aimed to foster collaboration and expertise sharing between the parties involved in the development of high-speed rail projects within North-East Europe.

The foundation for this cooperation was laid in January 2023 when a tripartite memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Rail Baltica central coordinator, RB Rail AS, the Czech national railway infrastructure manager Správa železnic, and Poland’s infrastructure megaproject Centralny Port Komunikacyjny Sp. z o.o. (CPK). Through this tripartite agreement, the parties have formalized their commitment to cooperate in promoting and developing high-speed railway projects in the region.

Správa železnic, responsible for railway infrastructure modernization in the Czech Republic, highlighted the need for high-speed rail development due to saturated capacity on main lines and increased demand for both passenger and freight services. The Czech Republic’s strategic aim is to capitalize on the country’s location at the crossroads of Central Europe establishing high-speed connections between Prague and major European capitals such as Berlin, Brussels, Paris and others, as well as cities in the neighboring countries, e.g., Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest.

During the exchange visit, Mr Emilien Dang, Member of the Management Board and Chief Technical Officer at RB Rail AS, delivered a comprehensive overview of the progress of the Rail Baltica global project. 

“As both Czechia and the Baltics advance our respective high-speed rail initiatives, rooted in historical contexts, our shared objective is to enhance connectivity within Europe, benefiting our citizens and economies alike. As our projects progress, we can support one another in our efforts to deliver an efficient and sustainable transportation infrastructure across the region,” said Mr Dang.

Mr Kaspars Vingris, Chairman of the Board at Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas, offered insights into the specific advancements made within Latvia's section of Rail Baltica. “We share many of the challenges in implementing infrastructure megaprojects and this knowledge sharing is beneficial for the teams. In order for trains to start running on Rail Baltica infrastructure as soon as the project is completed, the preparation for operational readiness is key and we can learn much from our Czech colleagues,” Mr Vingris stressed.

Additionally, Mr Radek Čech, Director of the Department for International Cooperation at Správa železnic, presented the organization's extensive portfolio of projects, including the V4 VRT and Via Vindobona projects. The Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Latvia Mr. Martin Vitek and the Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Veronika Sidó also joined the exchange. 

“We very much welcome the first meeting between Správa železnic and RB Rail AS. It is aimed at strengthening cooperation between the two sides and bringing mutual benefit in the field of railway infrastructure, enhancing mobility, connectivity, business development and economic growth by delivering sustainable and safe transport infrastructure in line with the EU standards. A regular working group will be established in order to share information, knowledge and best practice, and other common actions to promote development of high-speed rail at EU and international level,” highlighted Mr. Martin Vitek, the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Latvia. 

Other key topics discussed were large infrastructure railway projects’ financing, as well as subsystem development, which were discussed at an expert level.  Furthermore, the delegation had the opportunity to visit construction sites at Riga Central Station and Riga International Airport, gaining firsthand experience of the ongoing infrastructure development.

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, including Poland, and indirectly Finland. It is also a part of the trans-European transport corridor.

Rail Baltica will be a fully electrified railway with a standard gauge of 1435 mm and will be equipped with ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System). It is 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 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: