Speaking during an online forum on April 23 attended by around 1000 people from 39 countries, Driksna said: “We are not only delivering the detailed technical design in all of Estonia, Latvia and in two sections of Lithuania, but also developing plans to prepare for the large-scale construction works ahead. The focus is on setting up a procurement system that will enable quality, cost-efficiency and speed in the delivery of construction works and allow both international and local companies to take part in the project.”

Mr Mark Loader, RB Rail’s chief programme planning officer and management board member, provided the online audience with an insight into the short-term design and construction plans in all three countries and the contracting approach. “Rail Baltica’s timeline is an ambitious one,” Loader said. “Nevertheless, with the right tools and comprehensive planning and risk mitigation in place, we are in a good position to reach this goal. More importantly, we have a clear understanding of the scope of the project and the necessary funding for the current needs has been secured.”

In addition to the detailed technical design of the main line in all three Baltic states, the focus this year is on the development of passenger stations, freight terminals and maintenance facilities for the 870km mixed-traffic standard-gauge 240km/h railway.

Baltic states

In Estonia, the technical design of the Rail Baltica passenger stations in Tallinn and Pärnu is underway and procurement will start for the technical design of freight terminals, rolling stock and service depots. The construction of more than 20 railway viaducts and animal crossings is planned.  

In Latvia, the focus is on starting construction of Riga Central station and signing a contract for the Riga airport section by the end of 2020. Design of the multimodal terminal in Salaspils will begin along with additional environmental impact assessments and a study to develop the rail network in Riga.

In Lithuania, construction of a rail junction in Kaunas is underway and a tender will be launched for the construction of the main line from Kaunas to the Latvian border. In addition, planning is underway for the Vilnius - Kaunas section and will take place soon for the Kaunas - Polish border section.

Global project

Globally, RB Rail is developing procurement strategies for construction and materials to prepare for major construction works.

RB Rail has launched a tender to select an engineering service provider for the development, procurement and deployment supervision of the power supply and electrification. The contract will cover the period until train operation starts in 2026 and includes high-voltage lines to connect traction substations to the high-voltage electrical grids, substations, overhead catenary, and the electrification control and command system.

RB Rail also plans to launch procurement for the control, command and signalling system engineering, conduct more demand studies and develop a project marketing strategy.  


Nearly €200m of EU funding will be used this year in all three Baltic states. So far the project has secured €941m in Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding and national co-funding. An application has been submitted for another €781m to be invested by the end of 2023.

RB Rail has concluded the procurement of the detailed technical design for 643km of the line and has received 39 proposals from 16 companies. RB Rail says the designs delivered during the procurement process were within budget.

By 2026, total investment in the Baltic states will reach €5.8bn, of which up to 85% will be co-funded by the European Union. RB Rail says this will provide a significant boost to the local construction, engineering and other service industries. During the 2022-2025 peak construction period, the Rail Baltica project will create around 13,000 jobs in the construction industry, with another 24,000 jobs in related industries.

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