The Rail Baltica Project will connect the Baltic States with Poland and the rest of the European high-speed network. Tallinn - Riga - Kaunas - Warsaw and Tallinn - Riga - Kaunas - Vilnius high-speed services are estimated to run four times per day once the line is launched and up to six times per day within 10 years. The Tallinn - Warsaw journey time is estimated at 6h 30 min. Up to 10 trains per day will run on the Vilnius - Kaunas - Warsaw route with a journey time of 3h 52min.

The plan also includes two night trains on the Tallinn - Riga - Kaunas - Warsaw - Berlin and Vilnius - Kaunas - Warsaw - Berlin routes, enabling passengers to reach other destinations in central and western Europe.

Passenger will be able to reach Riga International Airport from Riga Central station in around 10 minutes, with a minimum of one train every 30 minutes.

The frequency of the high-speed services is based on the anticipated passenger demand. Developed by the Germany-based ETC Gauff Mobility, in consortium with Cowi, Denmark, and Institut für Bahntechnik, Germany, RB Rail says the plan reflects an integrated approach based on market demand and development.

“The main outcome of the operational plan is to indicate how the RB infrastructure will meet the transport demand in the medium and long term, guaranteeing capacity for all types of train services,” says RB Rail head of systems and operation department, Mr Jean-Marc Bedmar. “This plan will be used to ensure that RB track is used efficiently from the first day of its operations and allowing to scale-up passenger and cargo services after the phase-in period.”

Freight operations

According to the plan, there will be two to three freight paths per hour with a maximum speed up to 120 km/h. The maximum axle load will be 25 tonnes and the maximum length will be 1050m. To facilitate freight movement on the line, three large multimodal terminals are being developed in Muuga, Estonia, Salaspils, Latvia, and Palemonas, Lithuania.

It is expected that 80% of freight trains on Rail Baltica will be intermodal trains stimulating modal shift from road to rail.

Regional and cross-border passenger services

RB Rail says a high-level assessment carried out within the operational plan shows the potential for regional services in all three Baltic States, with a maximum speed of 200km/h. The plan suggests there is sufficient passenger demand to operate regional services on the Bauska - Riga, Salacgrīva - Riga, Pärnu - Tallinn, and Marijampole - Kaunas - Vilnius routes, as well as a feasible demand for regional cross-border traffic, such as Marijampole - Riga and Tallinn - Riga airport. However, RB Rail says the future of regional traffic development on RB still requires additional studies and governmental decisions.