Tallinn-Tartu railroad straightening works could be delayed

A section of rail track in Estonia (photo is illustrative).
A section of rail track in Estonia (photo is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

State railway infrastructure manager Eesti Raudtee plans to straighten some of the curvier sections of railroads to cut the trip duration of the Tallinn-Tartu route down to 1.5 hours by 2024. Straightening works require the state to transfer nearly 50 private properties near the railroads, however, and that process can take longer than initially planned.

14 private properties in Tartu received a letter from Tartu municipality in the last days of 2021, notifying them of the railroad works. Two property owners have objected to the project so far, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Wednesday.

"The most common fear is noise, there was an issue of accessibility in addition to the green network factors - do animals have enough room to move around. But the most important thing is how many square meters people will lose on their property," said Tartu municipality architect Egle Nõmmoja.

The straightening works will mostly take place in Jõgeva and Tartu municipalities. The state must take ownership of some 50 properties with some of them only being forest land, but there are buildings on other properties, as well.

Eesti Raudtee construction service manager Riho Vjatkin noted that the transfers could delay the entire process. "We are currently living by a schedule, which says the railroad will be straight by 2024, when new trains will being using the roads. Times are quite tense currently," Vjatkin said.

Egle Nõmmoja noted that all this means there will not be too much time left for the designs. "The pace is quite rapid, but all parties are doing their best, at least on the state level. I just hope property owners will not be ran over, that they would also be involved. And once everyone understands why this is necessary, what are the compromise options - noise barriers, there are people with important trees that are in the railroad corridor, there are people with drinking water wells. I expect the state to come up with a solution to compensate for these things or replace them," the municipality architect said.

Vjatkin said the straightening works should be completed sometime in the summer next year. The state has not yet initiated substantive property transfer negotiations with owners yet.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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