Baltics Agree on Joint Venture for High Speed Rail Connections to European Capitals ({{commentsTotal}})

Last passanger train from Moscow arrived at Tallinn Baltic Station on Tuesday. The Tallinn-St. Petersburg line has also been suspended. Train operator GoRail hopes to restore the services between Estonia and Russia before the end of the year.
Last passanger train from Moscow arrived at Tallinn Baltic Station on Tuesday. The Tallinn-St. Petersburg line has also been suspended. Train operator GoRail hopes to restore the services between Estonia and Russia before the end of the year. Source: (Postimees/Scanpix)

An important milestone on the way to high speed rail connections from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania's rail system to the rest of Europe was reached today as working groups from the Baltics agreed on a draft shareholders' agreement to form a joint venture for Rail Baltic. 

The working groups met today in Tallinn; it was the 10th meeting. The Lithuanians had had the most stipulations, demanding that Vilnius, the national capital, also be connected to the line. Earlier this year, Estonia and Lithuania had been close to a diplomatic row over comments made by Estonia's then economy minister regarding the Lithuanians' unbending stance. 

"We reached a common understanding and there are articles in the shareholders' agreement that are a very important part, that Vilniius is a part of the Rail Baltic project," said Lithuanian economic affairs ministry department head Arenijus Jackus on ETV.

Rail Baltic Estonia project manager Indrek Sirp said the Vilnius connection can start to be developed when EU financing is in place. Currently it isn't. 

"It was also agreed that [the Vilnius connection] can't slow down the wortk on the main line, which is via Kaunas toward Poland," said Sirp on ETV.

The Baltics, along with Poland and Finland, signed the memorandum of intent for the joint venture last September.

The joint venture will be headquartered in Riga, while each national segment of the railway will remain property of the respective state. 



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