The head of the Rail Baltic project in Estonia Indrek Sirp has echoed earlier statements by Economic Affairs Minister Juhan Parts that, according to the best case scenario, the fast-track rail link with Europe will be ready by 2023 or 2024.
“Currently we are calculating that if construction begins in 2017 or 2018, the track could be ready by 2023,” Sirp told ERR's morning television program Terevisioon today.
Sirp said that the line will have a speed limit of 240 kilometers per hour, adding that the limit could have been set higher if the track were being planned only for passenger trains, as cargo trains move slower and need a different type of rail.
According to current plans, the route will include stops in Tallinn and Pärnu, and in the future, if more funds are made available, one in Rapla, Sirp said.
Quoting economic viability studies, Sirp said that ideally trains should set off from Tallinn at 06:00 each morning and depart every two hours thereafter, carrying a total of 3,000 passengers from Tallinn to Pärnu daily.
He added that Rail Baltic tickets to other European destinations are likely to be less expensive than airline tickets, but more expensive than a bus link.