The Anonymous Widower

Will Rail Baltica Annoy Putin?

Rail Baltica is described like this in Wikipedia.

Rail Baltica (also known as Rail Baltic in Estonia) is an ongoing greenfield railway infrastructure project to link Finland (via ferry or an undersea tunnel), Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania with Poland and through this with the European standard gauge rail line network. Its purpose is to provide passenger and freight service between participating countries and improve rail connections between Central and Northern Europe, specifically the area in the Southeast of the Baltic sea. Furthermore, it is intended to be a catalyst for building the economic corridor in Northeastern Europe. The project envisages a continuous rail link from Tallinn (Estonia) to Warsaw (Poland). It consists of links via Riga (Latvia), Kaunas and Vilnius (Lithuania). Rail Baltica is one of the priority projects of the European Union.

These are a few more details.

  • It will be a double-track railway or four tracks if it handles freight.
  • Passenger trains will run at up to 250 kph (155 mph)
  • Electrification will be either 25 KVAC or 3 KVDC overhead.
  • It will be a standard gauge line.
  • There will be no level crossings.
  • It is planned to open around 2026.

The biggest problem could be that some of the route is shared with the Russian gauge line, that connect Kaliningrad to Vilnius and then from there to the main part of Russia.

This map from OpenRailwayMap shows the railways between Kaliningrad and Vilnius.

Note.

  1. The orange lines are main lines.
  2. The yellow lines are secondary lines.
  3. The orange line going West goes to Kaliningrad.
  4. The dark grey line crossing the railway is the border of the Kaliningrad enclave, which was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1945.
  5. The orange line going South  goes to Bialystok, Warsaw and all places to the West.
  6. The loop in the line is at Kaunus, where there will be an interchange between the two lines.
  7. The orange lines going East go to Vilnius.
  8. The dotted red line in the North-East corner of the map, will be new track for Rail Baltica.

The new railway will effectively squeeze itself between Kaliningrad and Kaunus.

Railway Gauges In Poland and the Baltic States

Consider.

  • Most, if not all of the railways in the Baltic States are Russian gauge.
  • The line between Kaliningrad and Kaunus is Russian gauge.
  • Most of the railway lines in Poland are standard gauge.
  • The EU likes all new high speed lines like Rail Baltica to be built to standard gauge and have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • Kaunus is in Lithuania, so NATO control access to Kaliningrad in sensitive times.

I can’t believe that Vlad likes the current situation and would probably prefer Rail Baltica to be built to Russian gauge, as it would enable the Russian Army to easily move tanks into the Baltic States.

Conclusion

There’s a chance that Vlad will make trouble.

March 6, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Anything that binds the Baltic states more tightly towards the EU will annoy Putin. Especially the choice of standard gauge rather than Russian gauge, right into the Russian exclave

    Comment by MilesT | March 7, 2022 | Reply

    • I used to know a Finn, who still had his father’s white cotton snow suit, that he wore to go out on skis and fight the Russians in the Winter War. He stuffed it with straw for warmth.

      Now that is bravery!

      Comment by AnonW | March 7, 2022 | Reply


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