Estonia and Finland join forces to establish seamless interstate rail link
Two Northern European states, Estonia and Finland, are looking for enhancement of cross-border connectivity. One of the solutions is the undersea railway tunnel under the Gulf of Finland, which is expected to tackle this issue as well as to improve freight and passenger links between the capitals of the mentioned countries.
To make the idea of the long-pending railway tunnel in the Talsinki metropolitan region real, the governments of Estonia and Finland decided to facilitate cooperation on common transport and infrastructure initiatives including the Helsinki – Tallinn tunnel. Such a desire was a key drive force for both states to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the transport sector. The document was autographed on Monday, 26 April, by two transport officials, Timo Harakka from Finland and Taavi Aas from Estonia. It will be in force until 2030.
Both states intend to tackle several key issues. One of them is to create a seamless 100-kilometre connection between Tallinn and Helsinki. Currently, the transport connections between the capital cities are performed mostly by ferry and a little by aircraft. The travel time for sea journeys takes 2 hours. When the tunnel will be constructed, it will be reduced to 30 minutes.
Another important goal of the project is to intensify freight traffic in the region. “The use of the tunnel will be foreseen for both freight and passenger transport, and the tunnel will be considered as infrastructure of strategic importance/part of critical infrastructure”, the memorandum reads. Moreover, the undersea tunnel will extend the planned Rail Baltica project, which is a part of the North Sea – Baltic TEN-T corridor, to the High North.