Rail Baltica section through Riga will not be built by 2030 - Latvian Television

  • 2024-03-25
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Even in the best-case scenario, the European standard-gauge railroad Rail Baltica section through Riga will not be built by 2030, Latvian Television reported Sunday night.

The Transport Ministry has submitted a report to the government on what the Rail Baltica project should look like in six years' time and where financing for the project will come from.

In the report, the Transport Ministry proposes an option in which the Rail Baltica route connect Riga Central Station and Riga Airport in the first stage of the project, but the Rail Baltica route would not go through the whole city.

Latvian Television has learned that, according to the Transport Ministry's scenario, trains traveling on the Rail Baltica railway from Estonia would cross the Daugava near Salaspils, then turn to Riga Airport at the Misa River and arrive at Riga Central Station, and then travel back along this same route and continue on to Lithuania.

This would extend the journey time to Riga by about 20 minutes, Transport Minister Kaspars Briskens (Progressives) told the television. Nevertheless, this option would cost less and take less time, he explained.

It is already clear that the Rail Baltica section on the right bank of the Daugava, from Riga Central Station to Sauriesi near Salaspils, cannot be built in six years even under the most optimistic scenarios, Latvian Television points out.

According to the transport minister, revision of the first stage of construction of Rail Baltica railroad in Latvia will reduce the total cost of the project by at least one-third. He though refused to give a specific figure and did not answer a question whether the cost of the first stage of the project was estimated at over EUR 6 billion.

The most objections to the report came from the Finance Ministry. Even if the expected EUR 3.68 billion from the European Union funds may be obtained without a hitch, the question of where to get the other EUR 3 billion or so remains unanswered.

Finance Minister Arvils Aseradens (New Unity) told Latvian Television that miracles did not happen and a few billion euros would not suddenly appear at the wave of a magic wand.

Military mobility is of utmost importance, said Aseradens, reminding that the Rail Baltica railway was to connect Tallinn with Warsaw via the Baltic countries.

As reported, the Rail Baltica project provides for construction of a European standard gauge railway line from Tallinn to the Lithuanian-Polish border to connect the Baltic states with other European countries by rail. A new 870-kilometre European-gauge (1435 millimeter) railway line with a maximum train speed of 240 kilometers per hour will be built in the Baltic states.