VILNIUS – The projects for an onshore Harmony Link cable between Lithuania and Poland and the European standard-gauge railway Rail Baltica will be interlinked, particularly on the Polish side, so it is important for Vilnius and Warsaw to ensure that the two neighboring countries' railway lines are connected by 2028, Lithuanian ministers said on Friday.
"Undoubtedly, these projects are interdependent, especially on the Polish side," Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys told reporters after a meeting of the Lithuanian government's commission for the coordination of the Baltic power grids' synchronization with continental Europe.
Transport Minister Marius Skuodis said that 2028 is a key date for connecting the Lithuanian and Polish sections of the European-gauge railway.
"An additional energy dimension emerges now. We are also focusing on 2028, which is what we discussed in the commission, so here it is just important to make sure that we will be connected in that year (2028), and not later," he told reporters after the meeting.
The project for the railway track from Kaunas to the Polish border could be divided into separate stages to ensure that the Harmony Link and Rail Baltica projects "not interfere with each other," according to the minister.
Skuodis said that the planned power link will run alongside the railway for only four meters on the Lithuanian side, but for a much larger distance on the Polish side.
"I can see that solutions are already being found at a preliminary expert level, which is important from the Polish side. Because in Poland, the distances planned along the Rail Baltica route in kilometers would be quite different, so it is important to have these solutions on the Polish side," Skuodis told reporters after the meeting.
"On the other hand, I can see an additional argument for our neighbors to move faster with the project, because it would not only be a strategic Rail Baltica project, but also an additional energy link," he added.
The preliminary plan for the onshore Harmony Link, considered as an alternative to the initially planned submarine cable, sees a small section of the cable route – some 4 km out of about 30 km – in Lithuania run underground alongside the Rail Baltica embankment from the border with Poland to Kaunas.
While most of the link in Lithuania would be an overhead line, in Poland, plans call for laying an underground cable that would also require the Rail Baltica embankment.