Construction of the Turba-Haapsalu-Rohukula railway is to cost approximately EUR 65 million, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications estimates.
In May 2017, the Estonian government decided to finance with EUR 7.6 million the first stage of the Haapsalu railway, connecting Riisipere to Turba; this stage is to be completed next year.
It appears from the ministry-compiled action plan for railway development for 2019-2024 that within this period, a decision should be made regarding whether the next stages of the Haapsalu railway are to be pursued. According to the ministry, the estimated initial cost of the Turba-Haapsalu-Rohukula section is EUR 65 million.
The action plan also proposes the electrification of the Tallinn-Narva, Tapa-Tartu-Valga and Tartu-Koidula railways at an estimated cost of EUR 300 million exclusive of expenditures on electrified rolling stock.
The project aims to transfer a larger portion of cargo transport to rail, reduce road traffic and help Estonia fulfill the EU’s requirements for reducing carbon emissions.
A decision is also to be made during the 2019-2024 period regarding the feasibility of a proposed Tallinn ring railway, as part of the route runs parallel to that of Rail Baltica. The estimated cost of the ring railway is EUR 112 million.
The primary goal of establishing the ring railway in Tallinn is to redirect cargo moving toward the ports of Paldiski away from Kopli Freight Station and Central Tallinn. The route could also be used for passenger transport within Harju County.
Another potential future project is the renovation and reopening of the Valga-Koidula railway to passenger service, at an estimated cost of EUR 42-45 million.
Increasing the capacity of the Tallinn-Rapla railway, meanwhile, would cost an estimated EUR 4.7 million. According to the ministry, capacity of this section of rail is currently exhausted at peak hours.
Increasing capacity on this line from six to nine trains during busy hours would require the construction of stations in Hagudi, Saku and Manniku. As an additional measure, the ministry recommends establishing more flexible schedules, as supplementary passing sidings would be established every 5km between Tallinn and Kiisa and every 10 km between Kiisa and Rapla.
Public railways in Estonia are managed by the Estonian state-owned national rail company Estonian Railways (EVR) and the privately owned train operator Edelaraudtee Infrastruktuuri AS.
Tallinn’s rail connection to the northwestern seaside resort town of Haapsalu was suspended in summer 2004, when Haapsalu Raudtee OU, the owner of the Riisipere-Haapsalu railway, began removing rails from the track. (ERR/Business World Magazine)
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