The Anonymous Widower

Rail Baltica Electrification Procurement Begins

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

These two paragraphs define the project.

Rail Baltica project promoter RB Rail has begun procurement of the electrification systems for the future standard gauge line between Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, saying it will be the largest railway electrification scheme in Europe to be implemented as a single project.

The energy subsystem contract covers 870 km of double track line from the Polish border to Tallinn including the line from Kaunas to Vilnius, and includes design and construction of substations, connections to the public high voltage grids, control systems and more than 2 000 track-km of overhead equipment.

It looks like the procurement process will be finished by 2023.

Hopefully, Vlad the Mad won’t object to this standard gauge line going too close to lines with his beloved Russian gauge.

June 3, 2022 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Rail Baltica Concept Trains Inspired By Sun, Sea And Sand

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

The article shows concept images and I suspect that any of Europe’s train makers could make trains like these.

Rail Baltica will have following route and specification.

  • It will eventually run between Helsinki and Warsaw, via Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
  • There will be a tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn.
  • It will carry both passengers and freight.
  • Freight trains will have a maximum length of 1050 metres, as opposed to 775 metres in the UK.
  • It will be mainly double-track.
  • It will be a standard gauge track with right-hand running, as all countries in the area use right-hand running.
  • There will be no level crossings.
  • It will have 25 KVAC overhead electrification.
  • There will be ERTMS signalling.
  • Passenger trains will run at 249 kph (161 mph)
  • It is intended to be completed in mid-2026

The specification is similar to High Speed Two, with these exceptions.

  • High Speed Two is faster at 205 mph.
  • High Speed Two runs on the left.
  • High Speed Two will not carry freight.

Phases 1 and 2a of High Speed Two should complete in 2029-2033, with Phase 2b following in 2035.

The bidders to build High Speed Two’s rolling stock include.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar list of companies tendering to build the trains for Rail Baltica.

  • Stadler, who have factories in Poland may be added to the list.
  • As the trains are being designed at the same time as High Speed Two trains, I wouldn’t be surprised to be similarities.
  • They would also have to be designed for both left and right hand running, if there was any chance of a service between Paris and Helsinki.
  • Although, they will run under 25 KVAC electrification on Rail Baltica,they may need to be able to run on other voltages.

I very much feel that Rail Baltica will be offered a selection of excellent trains.

Where Will The Trains Be Built?

Consider

  • This obviously depends, where winning bidder has factories.
  • But there is also the problem of getting trains between the factory and the Baltic.
  • This could be difficult for factories in Spain, as there would need to be a gauge change.
  • It would be easier, if the route were standard gauge all the way, as it would be from France, Germany, Italy and the UK
  • If a Spanish company got the contract, could it build the trains in the UK, as delivery could be easier.
  • I puzzle, why Talgo are building a factory in Scotland without any UK orders. But it would be easier to deliver trains to Russia and Eastern Europe by sea from Longannet than Spain.

There are a lot of factors that will define where the trains will be built.

 

April 23, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pärnu – Latvian Border Rail Baltica Contract Awarded

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on Railway Gazette.

This is the introductory paragraph.

Rail Baltica project promoter RB Rail has awarded a consortium of Indra subsidiary Protec and Obermeyer Planen + Beraten a €10·8m contract to provide design and construction supervision services for the 93·5 km section of the double-track route between Pärnu and the border with Latvia.

In my view, Rail Baltica is one of the most important rail projects in Europe, if not the World.

It will connect the Baltic States to Poland and Germany, and hopefully will play a large part in reducing road traffic in the area.

June 11, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Should We Have An Electronic Vote On Brexit?

We need to do something quick and radical to sort out Brexit.

Surely, if electronic voting is good enough for Estonia, it’s good enough for us!

Also if we can work out a secure system for Strictly Come Dancing and Love Island, we must have the technology for a secure vote!

Try getting that proposal through the House of Commons

September 24, 2019 Posted by | World | , , , | 4 Comments

Finland – Estonia Tunnel Secures €15bn In Funding

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the International Rail Journal.

This is the first paragraph.

FINEST Bay Area Development has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Touchstone Capital Partners, China, to secure €15bn in financing for construction of a 100km railway tunnel under the Gulf of Finland between Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia.

Linked to the planned Rail Baltica, it will mean that passengers and freight will be able to use railways between the UK and Finland.

March 12, 2019 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finland-Estonia Rail Tunnel Feasibility Study Completed

The title of this post is the same as that of this article in the International Railway Journal.

This is the first two paragraphs.

A feasibility study into the construction of a rail tunnel under the Baltic Sea between the Finnish capital Helsinki and the Estonian capital Tallinn estimates the cost of the project at €13-20bn.

The FinEst Link tunnel would be constructed as two 10m-diameter single bores connected at intervals with an 8m-diameter central service tunnel. The concept includes two artificial islands, and three stations in Helsinki – City Centre, Pasila and Vantaa Airport – and one station at Ülemiste in Tallinn. The tunnel would be standard gauge to connect with the new Rail Baltica high-speed line linking Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

The article also goes on to say this about the economics of the tunnel.

While the project has a low cost:benefit ratio of 0.45 due to the high capital cost, its wider economic impact on GDP ranges from €4bn for the low scenario to €6.9bn for the base scenario.

Would the projected cost and economics of the FinEst Tunnel be a rough guide to what would happen if a fixed link were to be built between Scotland and Ireland?

The FinEst Tunnel will be standard gauge to be compatible with Rail Baltica, despite both Finland and Estonia using different railway gauges.

Just like the difference between Great Britain and the island of Ireland.

 

February 9, 2018 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

A Big Step For Rail Baltica

This article on Railway Gazette is entitled Rail Baltica procurement agreement signed.

Rail Baltica is a large  project to create a standard gauge railway from Tallinn in Estonia to Bialiystok in Poland via Riga in Latvia and Kaunus in Lithuania.

One extra part of the plan is to build a rail tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn, to connect Finland to the European railway network.

This Google Map shows the Gulf of Finland.

The Gulf Of Finland

The Gulf Of Finland

Helsinki and Taillinn are in the West on the North and South coasts respectively, with St. Petersburg in the East.

I would think, that a Taillinn to Helsinki Tunnel, would be feasible, but at probably sixty kilometres it would be the longest undersea tunnel in the world.

Now that the various parties have agreed to proceed, we might see some progress on building the main route from Tailinn to Bialystok, which hopefully will be finished in 2025.

October 12, 2016 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Peer-to-Peer Lending In Estonia

My Zopa alert found this article from a website called European Voice.

It gives this view on Estonian banking.

Banking is the economy’s biggest weakness. It offers stingy, fee-ridden savings products and over-priced loans with nasty hidden costs. Intermediaries gain colossal profits, especially when they are greedy and reckless. When things go wrong, as they inevitably do, the taxpayer picks up the bill. Apart from that, it works fine.

It then goes on to show how things are changing through a company called Isepankur.

The writer has in fact invested some of his savings, by loaning to Estonian borrowers. This is his experience so far.

My net average return (like most Isepankur lenders) is about 17%. I have so far lent €1,570 to about 50 borrowers, in amounts ranging from €5 to €25. I have received €60 back in repaid capital and €24 in interest. I also got €0.06 in ‘penalties’ (my share in a small fine levied on a borrower called ‘Lillekas’ who paid a few days late).

I don’t think it will be many years, before the peer-to-peer lenders are available in many countries.

Who’d be a retail banker?

January 27, 2013 Posted by | Finance, World | , | Leave a comment