Minister: Tallinn rail bypass may now go ahead

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communication Kadri Simson (Centre).
Minister of Economic Affairs and Communication Kadri Simson (Centre). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

A rail bypass around running parallel to the proposed Rail Baltica route around Tallinn may now be taken into account, says Minister for Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Kadri Simson (Centre), reversing earlier statements that this would not happen.

The move follows a request from the Union of Harju County Municipalities, the district most affected, for such a link to be constructed. The construction would also take into account practicalities of rail links with the Russian Federation.

The construction of a rail bypass on a section overlapping the Rail Baltica route will be technically possible in the future, following the announcement of the Rail Baltica construction project announced today," Ms Simson said in an interview with daily Eesti Päevaleht.

Plans for a rail route bypassing Tallinn, estimated (by rail track operators Eesti Raudtee) at a cost of €112 million, had originally been shelved, according to a report in daily Postimees at the beginning of the month.

Options left open

''We are leaving open the possibility of a rail by pass linked with the Rail Balitca route, should our transit requirements substantially change,'' said Ahti King, deputy secretary general for transport at the economic ministry.

"We are making it technically possible to build the railways of the Rail Baltica route corridor, if there is a major change in our transit.

The tentative design for the ring railway extension would involve 12.5km of the 27km track terminating at the Port of Paldiski, to the west of Tallinn, running parallel to the Rail Baltica route, just south of Lake Ülemiste.

Construction of Rail Baltica, usually referred to as ''Rail Baltic'' in the Estonian-language media, is due to link Finland, the three Baltic States and Poland using standard European-gauge track, and is slated for construction this year, with proposed completion due in 2026.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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