Transport Ministry has assessed alternatives for connecting Riga with Rail Baltica railway line

  • 2024-06-27
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The Transport Ministry in cooperation with the Baltic joint venture RB Rail and Eiropas Dzelzcela Linijas (EDzL), responsible for the construction of Rail Baltica in Latvia, has summarized the options evaluated so far for a full-fledged connection of Riga with the Rail Baltica railway line from both the southern and the northern sides, including ensuring freight flow through Riga, representatives of the ministry informed LETA.

The proposals are being submitted to the Cabinet of Ministers for a decision on the scope of implementation of the first phase of the Rail Baltica project until 2030.

According to the cost-benefit analysis carried out by RB Rail, the highest passenger traffic on the Rail Baltica railway line is expected between Riga city center and Riga Airport, therefore it is recommended to prioritize the construction of the main line from the Lithuanian border to Misa, from the Estonian border to Upesleias, as well as the integration of Riga.

It is also recommended to continue work on a detailed study of technical solutions, including partial freight traffic, for the Riga sections Upeslejas - Riga Central Train Terminal and Riga Central Train Terminal - Riga Airport. The ministry plans to complete this work by the end of September this year.

The ministry noted that in Latvia, an initial technical study and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) were carried out in 2014-2016 to determine the route of the Rail Baltica railway line and the related infrastructure. Based on the results of the EIA, in 2016 the Cabinet of Ministers regulations determined the location of the Rail Baltica railway line in the territory of Latvia, which does not provide for full freight transport via Riga.

Previous technical solutions envisaged the development of a freight bypass via Salaspils. However, according to the Transport Ministry, the solution developed can be significantly improved by redesigning it in active cooperation between the Rail Baltica project promoters and Latvijas Dzelzcels (LDz).

In cooperation with LDz, a simplified technical solution has been developed for the connection of the two international stations in Riga, which significantly reduces the construction costs for the first stage until 2030.

The ministry also urges the government to support the connection of the Rail Baltica line to the Port of Riga to facilitate the development of the economic corridor. The connection to the port was not foreseen when the project was previously planned.

As reported, according to the latest Rail Baltica cost-benefit analysis, the total cost of the line in the Baltics could reach EUR 23.8 billion, including EUR 15.3 billion for the first phase of the project in the Baltics and EUR 6.4 billion in Latvia. A previous cost-benefit analysis in 2017 estimated the total cost of the project at EUR 5.8 billion.