The EU will support three fundamental rail projects in the Baltic region with approximately €734 million from the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Programme for Transport. The projects, which were selected for funding under the 2014 CEF Transport Calls for Proposals and take place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will deliver faster travel times and increased capacity to local, regional and international rail services.
The three supported projects form part of the Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica project, which involves the construction and upgrade of a continuous EU gauge railway line between Tallinn (Estonia) and Warsaw (Poland), passing by the Baltic cities of Riga (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania). Rail Baltic/Rail Baltica forms part of the North Sea-Baltic TEN-T Core Network Corridor.
The first of the three projects receiving EU support is a cross-border cooperation between the three Baltic States. It will receive support worth over €442 million to implement a large number of studies and works on several sites in Estonia, in Latvia (Riga area) and on the Kaunas-Panevezys-Lithuanian/Latvian border section in Lithuania.
The second project, co-funded with over €105 million, takes place entirely in Lithuania and covers studies and works for the development of the new EU gauge railway line from the border with Poland via the city of Kaunas and onwards to the border with Latvia.
The third project takes place entirely in Poland and involves the upgrade and modernisation of approximately 102 km of railway line from Warsaw Rembertow to Sadowne and to Czyzew. It will be supported by the EU with a grant worth almost €186 million.
Completion of the three projects will contribute to a high quality continuous connection for freight and passenger rail transport between Finland, the Baltic States, Poland and other European countries. Moreover, it will reduce travel times and positively affect rail safety as the region upgrades its rail traffic control systems.
The projects are set to be completed by the end of 2020.