“Rail Baltica project is about ensuring fast and convenient trips between European cities by connecting Vilnius with Warsaw and Riga. Naturally, the progress of such an exceptionally large-scale project attracts much attention from the public; this is why it is important to maintain a dialogue with the areas where this railway is to be built, with the communities, businesses and municipalities and, by way of public presentations and discussions, to find the most efficient solutions and to meet everyone’s needs and expectations. Thus, the population of Vilnius and Kaunas regions is encouraged to actively participate in the current territory planning process and to produce the best solutions together,” Vice Minister of Transport and Communications Loreta Maskaliovienė commented.
A new optimal route for the Rail Baltica railway had to be established because the currently operated railway between Vilnius and Kaunas does not meet the requirements of Rail Baltica for train speed due to its geometry. With Rail Baltica, communication speed between Vilnius and Kaunas will almost double and the trip will only take up to 38 minutes.
Joint-activity partners UAB Sweco Lietuva (responsible partner) and DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH prepared four alternative routes that the Rail Baltica railway could take from Vilnius to Kaunas. According to Maskaliovienė, the decision to include Vilnius undoubtedly increased the value of the whole Rail Baltica project. The European gauge extending to Vilnius will turn the railway station of the capital into an international Rail Baltica station and the trip between Vilnius and Kaunas airports will take only around half an hour.
Currently, all alternatives for Vilnius–Kaunas section are under consideration. Following the evaluation of the feedback and upon discussing it with the public and responding to all written proposals, the most optimal alternative is to be selected by the end of this year. This alternative should be the most suitable in terms of meeting the communication and transport needs, complying with the technical and technological requirements set to the European high-speed train railway gauge. Its environmental impact will also be taken into account. With the view to ensuring the process transparency and engagement of the wider public, the plan developers, project partners and the Ministry of Transport and Communications representatives will also meet with the target communities and will have live Q&A sessions.
Next year, specific solutions with clearly defined target territories, land plots and their parts to be included into the Rail Baltica railway line, are to be published. Land plot owners, users and their neighbours on whose land plots (or neighbouring land plots) the European gauge railway is to be built will be informed thereof by registered mail.
All information related to the Rail Baltica project is published online (https://www.rail-baltica.lt/) and on the Ministry of Transport and Communications website. They will soon be supplemented by a new tab FAQ (frequently asked questions), which will contain the most relevant questions and answers regarding the Rail Baltica project planning, land acquisition, and compensation mechanism.
The development alternatives set out in the Engineering Infrastructure Development Plan (EIDP) and the report of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are available in the TPDRIS information system (http://www.tpdris.lt/lt_LT/web/guest/sarasas, TPD No. S-NC-00-19-10), Web GIS online space (https://tiny.cc/rbaltica), head office of the organiser of planning, website of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (https://sumin.lrv.lt/lt/veiklos-sritys/projekto-rail-baltica-gelezinkelio-linijos-kaunas-vilnius-susisiekimo-komunikaciju-inzinerines-infrastrukturos-vystymo-planas), and website of the originator of the SEA documents (https://www.sweco.lt/pranesimai/svarbus-pranesimai/rail-baltica-gelezinkelio-linijos-koncepcija/).
Rail Baltica, the largest railway infrastructure project in the history of the Baltic States, is aimed at constructing a fully electrified double-track European gauge connecting Warsaw, Kaunas, Riga and Tallinn. The total length of Rail Baltica in the Baltic States is 870 km, with 392 km in Lithuania, 265 km in Latvia and 213 km in Estonia.