BDAR

Rail Baltica to open new horizons for Kaunas region

Date

2021 04 16

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On Friday, at the invitation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, representatives of institutions responsible for the implementation and coordination of the Rail Baltica project remotely discussed the project progress and future plans in Kaunas. Kaunas city and region deputy mayors, and members of the Parliament had a discussion with the Ministry on potential benefits of Rail Baltica to the residents and businesses of the region. Municipalities were called upon to express their expectations and concerns with regards to further developments.

“I am glad that Lithuania is rapidly moving forward with the implementation of the strategically significant Rail Baltica project. We already have a European railway gauge connecting Poland with Kaunas, and Kaunas intermodal terminal is connected to the European railway network. Rail Baltica, along with the airport and free economic zone next to it, opens up new horizons to the national industry and the residents in terms of freight transportation, environmental quality and green transport development, while Kaunas and its region may become a multi-modal transport centre,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Marius Skuodis.

According to LTG Infra Rail Baltica coordination department director Arenijus Jackus, freight trains are to start operating in Q2 of 2021, while territory planning activities for further infrastructure development and modernisation in Kaunas railway hub are currently underway.

“The major benefit of this project is the fact that upon implementing it Lithuania will be able to integrate into the European railway market. We are very happy that today all Baltic States are already actively engaged in its implementation. I am sure that Rail Baltica will be an important catalyst of economic development and travel patterns change in both Kaunas and other project-related regions,” stated Arenijus Jackus underlining project benefits in the context of Lithuania and Kaunas region.

Based on early estimates, over 4.5 million passengers per year are to take Rail Baltica routes through Kaunas from 2030 to 2040.

During the discussion, Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Loreta Maskaliovienė pointed out that businesses too will benefit from Rail Baltica. With the European track gauge Rail Baltica, we will finally be able to travel across Europe by train, and Vilnius–Kaunas connection will be almost twice as fast as before. In terms of economic benefits, the total value of Kaunas free economic zone project investment reaches around EUR 650 million with 70 percent of it coming from foreign direct investment.

The discussion with Kaunas city and region deputy mayors led to a conclusion that it is necessary to continue the discussion and coordinate future actions taking into account the needs of municipalities and their residents. 

The aim behind implementing Rail Baltica is to integrate the Baltic States into the European railway network. 870 km of high-speed double-track electrified railway with 249 km/h speed trains is to cross Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026.

Remote meetings with Panevėžys, Marijampolė and Vilnius region municipalities are scheduled to be held in April and May.