Government allocates €300,000 to launch Tartu-Riga train connection in 2024

An Elron train in its familiar orange livery.
An Elron train in its familiar orange livery. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

€300,000 has been allocated for the launch of the long-discussed Tartu-Riga train connection next year by the Ministry of Climate in next year's budget, Tartu Postimees reports.

Climate Minister Kristen Michal (Reform) said the reason behind the decision was that Tartu will hold the European Capital of Culture in 2024.

It is not yet known when the line could open and the details will be decided by train operator Elron.

"The longer-term plan is to have a more permanent connection between Tartu and Riga, but right now we can only talk about next year," Michal said.

Elron CEO Lauri Betlem said the company is investigating how it would be possible to launch the link. This includes certificating Estonia's trains and drivers on Latvian railways and accessing infrastructure suitability.

"The Latvian authorities have been contacted to start the process and consultations are ongoing regarding the possibility of the line," said Betlem.

Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas (Reform) said he would like to see the connection open in the summer at the start of the tourist season.  

He said the biggest issue is the timetable as departures must match people's needs and expectations. Klaas suggested the journey time should be less than 3.5 hours.

A preliminary plan is also being discussed about a link to Vilnius, Michel said. The route would connect Vilnius to Tallinn via Šiauliai, Riga, Valga, and Tartu.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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