News Rail Baltica
Satiksmes ministrs Tālis Linkaits un Katrīna Trautmane

On Wednesday, 14 September 2022, Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits received confirmation of the significance of the Rail Baltica project at the European level in a conversation with Catherine Trautmann, Coordinator of the Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport of the European Commission.

The representative of the European Commission confirmed in the conversation that the Rail Baltica project and the convenient and fast connection of the Baltic States with Western Europe were important for Europe. Tālis Linkaits and Catherine Trautmann have agreed that the project needs to be implemented as soon as possible, considering the geopolitical situation, therefore it is important to start the construction of the main line in Latvia.

In Latvia, work is currently underway on the procurement of the construction of the main line, and the construction works are planned to start in 2023. The Minister has informed that the construction works on the Rail Baltica main line are planned to be conducted in stages, with priority in the southern direction from the Lithuanian border to the Riga International Airport and the Salaspils Intermodal cargo terminal. Such a strategy will also enable the commissioning of the line in the completed stages immediately after construction is completed. Accordingly, in this situation, when considerable progress has been made in the Rail Baltica project, its timely completion also depends on predictable funding. The representative of the European Commission admitted that the readiness of the next stages and the ability to absorb the funds are particularly important for attracting funding.

Catherine Trautmann emphasized the ever-increasing role of railways in freight and passenger transport in Europe and called for the development of international railway transport among the Baltic States. The Minister informed that work was underway to introduce regular passenger train traffic between Riga and Tartu, so that the flight would be available in 2024, when Tartu will be the European Capital of Culture. The Minister indicated that there was also a development in the promotion of cargo transportation among the Baltic States by rail. The “Amber Train” freight train project has been launched by joining the railways of the Baltic States to attract new customers and increase freight volumes in the North-South connection.

Intensive work is currently underway on the Rail Baltica project, which will connect the Baltic countries with Western Europe along European-wide railway tracks. The Ministry of Transport is the implementer of the Rail Baltica project and the beneficiary of European Union support. The financing of the project in the range of 81-85% is provided by the Connecting Europe Facility, while the remaining part is provided by Latvian state budget funds. The implementers of the Rail Baltica project in Latvia are RB Rail AS and SIA Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas.