On 16 April 2018 RB Rail AS, a joint venture between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, signed a contract worth 389,496 euros (exclusive of VAT) with Atkins to produce a study on infrastructure management for the Rail Baltica Global project.
The study shall identify the most operationally and economically efficient model for managing infrastructure on Rail Baltica. The study should be completed by the end of 2018.
Kaspars Briškens, Business Development Manager at RB RAIL AS explained that the study was commissioned so that all future decisions on the project would be based on evidence from an independent and comprehensive analysis of its current model in relation to other cross-border railways.
“European and global best practice benchmarking illustrates that it is highly advisable to determine the long-term infrastructure manager as early as possible during the implementation of a greenfield infrastructure project. Selection of a suitable infrastructure management model is also critical to the success of the Rail Baltica project in the long run. The infrastructure management study shall provide a better assessment of the long-term value of the Rail Baltica infrastructure in all three Baltic countries and beyond as well as evaluation of the socio-economic return on the European and national investments. It also aids and promotes a diligent, well-informed and substantiated future political decision-making process by the end of 2018 for the Rail Baltica infrastructure management.”
The tender for the contract was an open competition and the Procurement Commission received proposals from four companies: DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH, Ingenieria y Economia del Transporte S.M.E.M.P.S.A., McKinsey & Company Poland Sp.z. o. o., and Atkins.
The project is currently in its design phase and construction of the Rail Baltica II line between Tallinn (Estonia), Riga (Latvia) and Kaunas (Lithuania) should start by 2019 and be completed by 2026. The first section of Rail Baltica, between the Polish-Lithuanian border and Kaunas, Rail Baltica I, was opened in 2015. An extension of Rail Baltica II to Warsaw is to be completed by 2030. Lastly, there are plans to extend the Rail Baltica project northwards to the Finnish capital of Helsinki by means of an undersea rail tunnel. Feasibility studies are still on-going here.
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