Lithuanian container train, source: Lietuvos geležinkeliai

Most freight trains on Rail Baltica will be intermodal

The Rail Baltica line that is to connect Poland with Estonia by European gauge railway in 2026 will be a great stimulus for intermodal transport in the Baltic region. 80 per cent of freight trains to run on the route will carry containers and trucks on flatcars. It will allow reducing air pollution and road traffic congestion.

This was revealed in the Rail Baltica Operational Plan for 2026–2056, published by a consortium of ETC Gauff Mobility (Germany), COWI (Denmark) and Institut für Bahntechnik (Germany). The document reflects a modern, integrated approach, where market demand and development is set as the main criteria, after which the timetable is defined. Accordingly, freight traffic will have a speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour. Trains will be 1,050 metres long with a 25-tonne axle load. It is expected that every hour two to three freight trains run on the line.

“This plan ensures that Rail Baltica is used efficiently from the first day of operation, allowing to scale-up passenger and cargo services after the phase-in period”,  RB Rail’s Head of Systems and Operation Department Jean-Marc Bedmar said.

Intermodal terminals

Also, the plan provides the development of three intermodal terminals on the Rail Baltica route: Muuga (close to Tallinn), Salaspils (in the vicinity of Riga) and Palemonas (northeastern Kaunas). The facilities will form the logistics hub to transship containers from European gauge tracks to the Russian gauge network or back.

Lithuania has already started to develop intermodal facilities on its section of the Rail Baltica line. Thus, two terminals, in Kaunas and Vilnius, were launched in May 2015. Lithuanian Railways invested in these projects more than 57 million Euros with the help of EU funds.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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