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Historical Facts about Latvian rail traffic to Europe

  • In 1862 the first railway was built in Latvia, which is when the first trains departed to Europe as well.

  • Some years after declaration of independence of Latvia – already on the 15th of February, 1921 a direct traffic between Riga and Virbaļi was opened and on the 19th of August the same year a direct train carriage railway was prolonged to Paris and Ostend, including Riga as the final destination of the Nord Express

  • In 1923 Latvian railway, Lithuanian railway and German railway train carriages were included in the train Riga – Berlin since these turned out to be strongly demanded.

  • The train that run from Latvia to Berlin before the Second World War reached Berlin in 15 hours and 19 minutes spending even less time on its way back – 14 hours and 43 minutes becoming the fastest and most convenient vehicle at the time. In Latvia its average commercial speed was 77,1 km/h, in Lithuania – 79,2 km/h but in Germany – 80,4 km/h.

  • After the end of the Second World War in 1945 it was possible to travel by train from Riga to Vilnius, Leningrad, Moscow, Valga, but from Daugavpils to Orla, Vilnius and Mažeikiai.

  • In 1949 modern diesel trains produced in Hungary were introduced in route Tallinn – Riga – Vilnius, which could reach Vilnus from Riga in 8 hours, but Kaunas in 6 hours, which is difficult to compare to 1940 when the train to Berlin reached Kaunas in 4 h and 14 min.

  • After the Second World War, during the time of USSR, direct train carriages on routes Riga – Warsaw and Riga – Berlin were introduced. The wheels were changed on the boarder in Brest since in the Russian Empire and later USSR the width of the train tracks (used to be 1524 mm and now is 1520 mm) differed from the width accepted in Europe and the rest of the world (1435 mm).The third direct international traffic was reestablished in 1970s when in the boarder stations – Chopa, Kuznica and other stations of USSR and its brother states the wheel changing points were established. For example, in 1973 it is possible to identify in the Baltic railway official train list a direct train carriage which was travelling from Leningrad through Rēzekne and Daugavpils to Prague.

  • In 1981 several direct train carriages were on the trains of routes Riga – Berlin (trip takes 31 hours and 15 minutes), Riga – Warsaw, Tallinn – Warsaw as well as Leningrad – Warsaw and Leningrad – Berlin.

Facts about Rail Baltica

  • The goal of the project Rail Baltica is to integrate the Baltic States in the European rail network and to include the four European Union countries – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and indirectly also Finland – in it by prolonging the connection Tallinn-Helsinki.

  • The project intends to build a new 1435 mm width European standard railway line in the Baltic States and to connect such metropoles as Tallinn – Riga – Kaunas – Warsaw – Berlin and later also Venice, which the passengers and cargo are going to reach with a fast, modern and environmentally friendly railway transport.

  • The length of the newly built track route will be 870 km of which 265 will be in Latvia, 213 km in Estonia and 392 km in Lithuania.

  • The max speed 249 km/h (passengers), 120 km/h (freight).

  • The time on the route from Tallinn to the boarder of Lithuania and Poland will be 4.1 h for the passenger trains and 10.4 h for the cargo trains.

  • Investment: The total estimated construction cost of the project is approximately 5.8 billion euros according to the Cost-Benefit Analysis prepared by EY. The support from the European Union is estimated to be up to 85% of the project costs.

  • Building process 2019 -2025.

  • In 2025 it is intended to open the connection Tallinn – Riga – Kaunas but in 2030 – the connection to Warsaw.

  • In 2030 it is planned to carry 5 million passengers and 13 million tons of cargo.

  • In 2040 income of 319 million euro is planned.

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