Baltics clinch key deal in major rail project

  • 2014-06-18
  • From wire reports, RIGA

A major deal for a pioneering rail project connecting five countries has been signed today (June 18) in Tallinn.

The Rail Baltica project plans to create a rail line from Tallinn to Berlin in an effort to create faster connection times and boost local economies.

It's estimated work on the project could be completed in a decade whilst its hoped construction work could begin next year.

Vilnius will be included in the route, as part of the plans after negotiating groups signed a deal in Tallinn on June 18. The standard gauge railway track will connect Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, Vilnius and Warsaw, and will extend to Berlin. It is expected that 85 percent of the cost will be covered by the European Union funding.

The enterprise managed jointly by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will undertake actions needed to ensure funding for the' project. The company will employ highly qualified professionals experienced in implementing projects of similar size, officials say.

Lithuania's Minister of Transport and Communications Rimantas Sinkevicius was pleased that a solution was reached and signed between Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia regarding crucial issues related to establishment of a joint ''Rail Baltica'' enterprise. The minister said it is a significant moment which will pave the way for actual implementation of the project.