Harju County municipalities want bypass railway alongside Rail Baltica ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A map of a proposed ring railway bypassing Tallinn.
A map of a proposed ring railway bypassing Tallinn. Source: Harju County Plan 2030+

The Union of Harju County Municipalities has submitted an appeal to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications requesting the latter to instruct the parties responsible for the establishment of Rail Baltica to take into consideration the need for a bypass railway in the overlapping corridors of Rail Baltic and the Tallinn ring railway.

In a letter to Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson, the association said it remains convinced of the necessity to take into account the need for a railway bypassing Tallinn to the south and preserve the possibility of building such railway in the near future.

"When the necessity thereof is justified with valid plans and development documents, in the designing and construction of Rail Baltica, the bridges, viaducts and other similar infrastructure objects enabling the construction of the bypass railway in the future will be eligible for aid from [Connecting Europe Facility] funds in the overlapping portion of the bypass railway and Rail Baltica," the association wrote. "Nor will this increase the construction costs of Rail Baltica significantly. When such prerequisites are established for the future, the plan for the bypass railway could remain executable, and executable at a reasonable cost."

In December 2018, RB Rail AS announced a tender for the preparation of the construction project of Rail Baltica in Harju County in which the need for a southern bypass railway is not taken into account.

"In conclusion, you will find that currently, designing the bypass railway cannot be discussed as the stages preceding it have not been completed and the actual need for it has not been determined," the municipality leaders wrote.

They noted that while it is true that two alternatives for the bypass railway have been set forth in the county plan, one of these alternatives is no longer viable as it envisages freight trains passing through the passenger terminal at Ülemiste, Tallinn's residential Luite subdistrict, the city district of Nõmme, and so on. 

As a result, the Union of Harju County Municipalities wants the state to instruct RB Rail AS and Rail Baltic Estonia OÜ in writing to take into account the need for a bypass railway in the overlapping corridor of Rail Baltica and the Tallinn southern bypass railway in drawing up the Rail Baltica construction project in a manner whereby they would either complement the Rail Baltica construction project already announced or separate the portion of the overlapping track with that of the bypass railway from the announced tender for the preparation of the Rail Baltica construction project and set it apart as a separate design stage.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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