Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania as well as Chairman of the Board of JSC Lithuanian Railways Saulius Girdauskas together with Deputy General Director of JSC Lithuanian Railways Albertas Simenas and Deputy Head of Belarusian Railways Valeriy Stromuk signed an agreement on cooperation on financing the improvement project on ‘High-speed railway passenger service between Minsk and Vilnius’ with funds allocated in The Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus Cross Border Cooperation Program within the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument.
“It is expected that Vilnius railway platform used for high-speed and freight trains operating on Vilnius-Minsk route will be reconstructed. In addition, Vilnius railway station escalators will be changed, and modern radio system GSM-R will be installed in Belarusian locomotives operating on the route Vilnius-Minsk. This will improve the passenger security, increase service quality and make the rail journey more comfortable,” said Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania Saulius Girdauskas.
For successful implementation of the goals, 1.1 million euro will be invested in the Lithuanian and Belarusian railway infrastructure. 40% of the required funds will be provided by The Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus Cross Border Cooperation Programme within the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. The second phase of the project will last 12 months.
The last phase of the improvement project on ‘High-speed railway passenger service between Minsk and Vilnius’ will involve the electrification of Molodechno-Naujoji Vilnia line. It is expected that, by the year 2015, the journey between the capitals of Lithuania and Belarus will be 30 minutes shorter, lasting only two hours. One of the priorities of The Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus Cross Border Cooperation Programme within the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument are to modernize the border infrastructure, improve the border crossing point equipment and border management, as well as customs procedures.
The project will promote the regional cohesion between Lithuania and Belarus as well as provide economic and social benefit to these regions.