The European Commission (EC) named the first stage of Rail Baltica Project as a success story.
By presenting the international North Sea-Baltic Corridor on the Commission’s website under the ‘success stories’, it is also noted that despite the economic crisis and lack of funding Lithuania undertook the construction of 1435 mm railway gauge, and completed the section from the Polish border to Kaunas.
The first Rail Baltica section will start operating at the beginning of this summer by connecting Lithuania with Poland, and through Poland with the rest of the Western Europe. The passenger trains are scheduled to start operating on weekends as of 17 June on the itinerary Kaunas-Bialystok.
The Rail Baltica Project is the major cross-border project that is implemented by the Baltic states – the gauge will connect Helsinki to Warsaw going via Tallinn, and also Riga to Kaunas with the connection to Vilnius, thus the connecting Finland, the Baltic states, Poland and the Western Europe.
Rail Baltica, Road of the Future, linking people, history and future
Following the regain of independence of the Baltic States in the 90s of the past century, an idea about connecting the Baltic States to “the heart of Europe” was born.
The idea intended to renew direct connection to the railway network of Europe by building a new European standard 1435 mm gauge railway in the Baltic States and connecting such metropoles as Tallinn – Riga – Kaunas – Vilnius – Warsaw – Berlin and prolonging the route to other European cities up to Venice in the future.
Indirectly this route includes also Finland, since the planning incorporates an idea to build an underwater tunnel, which could connect Tallinn and Helsinki by train.