Estonian Railways has plans to reconstruct a stretch of tracks between Valga and Koidula and build a new railroad hub in Sõmerpalu by 2027. The aim of the €70-million investment is to facilitate transport of military equipment, while carriage of freight and passengers remains a possibility.
"Estonian Railways wants to reconstruct the Valga-Koidula line to ensure both military and civilian usability. The project includes expanding the Sõmerpalu station and adding a loading platform. The station will be rebuilt to facilitate this addition," said Riho Vjatkin, head of construction services for the state company.
"The entire Valga-Koidula railway line, all approximately 88 kilometers of it, will be rebuilt. We will build platforms along the way to facilitate future passenger train traffic. We will also be linking Sõmerpalu to Mustassaare to allow local producers to haul their goods on the railroad," Vjatkin added.
The Sõmerpalu expansion will add two or three pairs of tracks and the loading platform, which will be built on state land.
The Estonian Railways' construction chief said that the Valga-Koidula line was last reconstructed in the mid-1980s. "The tracks are in relatively poor condition, there are several speed limits and passenger rail traffic would not be attractive there today," Vjatkin said, adding that the plan is to rebuild the whole section and add platforms along the way. "Once that is done, passenger trains can go 120 kilometers an hour and freight trains 80 kilometers an hour between Valga and Koidula."
Editor: Mait Ots, Marcus Turovski