Tallinn city government aims to take hazardous freight off city rail routes

Railway line in Tallinn (picture is illustrative).
Railway line in Tallinn (picture is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Hazardous rail freight transit should be banished from Tallinn city limits, according to Tallinn City Government, in connection with the Rail Baltic development, rekindling the possibility of a Tallinn ring railway which had been touted, then rejected, earlier in the year.

Deputy Mayor Andrei Novikov (Centre) sent a letter to economic affairs minister Taavi Aas (Centre) ad public administration minister Jaak Aab (Centre) saying that the transit of hazardous freight from the Kopli and Ülemiste cargo terminals through Tallinn towards Paldiski, west of the capital, and pas the Ülemiste shopping center in the southeast of the city, would cease as soon as possible, being replaced by road transit. This would mean the end of the Kopli and Ülemiste terminals.

Since the Tallinn-Paldiski line is already heavily burdened by passenger train traffic, making freight transport only possible at night, which causes living environment issues itself, the city government does not see a solution in increasing freight traffic as a whole either.

"Based on the above [considerations], we believe that the liquidation of the Kopli and Ülemiste cargo terminals, and the construction of a new freight terminal combined with the Rail Baltic development outside the densely populated area of ​​Tallinn is justified," said Novikov in the letter.

The city government also opposes a proposed alternative route to the north.

"We have repeatedly pointed out the unacceptability of this alternative in our previous letters, pointing out a long list of reasons for exclusion. In essence, this route alternative was also being considered in the selection of the Rail Baltic railway line in Harju County Planning and was not picked," Novikov pointed out.

Novikov added that Tallinn only agrees with the position of the Harju County Municipal Association that the need to build the ring railway will become clearer over time, and is likely to become more and more costly over time, adding that in the future, the inevitability of building the railway will become apparent.

"This is all the more true in the situation where it is impossible to enter and handle dangerous railway cargo in the territory of Tallinn either at Ülemiste or Kopli cargo terminals, and the possible volume of freight transport is extremely limited," the deputy mayor added.

He noted that the capital is interested in taking part in the discussions on Tallinn ring railway, a €112-million project dropped by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications earlier in the year.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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