Railway tunnel under the Baltic Sea to connect Helsinki with Tallinn
The idea of building a tunnel for high-speed trains between Finland and Estonia is still alive. The project has found a Chinese investor. The nearly 100-kilometer tunnel project is being led by FinEst Bay Area Development, co-founded by Finnish entrepreneur and Angry Birds developer Peter Vesterbacka. It is reported by Railway Supply magazine with reference to Nakolei.
FinEst Bay estimates that the construction of the tunnel will cost 15-20 billion euros. The Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel will be the world’s longest undersea railway tunnel when completed, almost twice as long as the Channel Tunnel.
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The tunnel is designed to integrate Finland into the standard European rail network, which is being rolled out in the Baltic countries as part of the Rail Baltica project. Currently, in the Baltic countries the track gauge is 1520 mm, and in Finland – 1524 mm. Thus, if the project is implemented, Rail Baltica’s high-speed trains will be able to enter the tunnel and end their journey in Finland.
Currently, more than eight million people travel the Gulf of Finland every year, and passenger traffic on this route, according to FinEst forecasts, will grow rapidly and reach 30 million passengers by 2030. The new tunnel is designed to take into account the growing number of passengers between the capitals. This is expected to reduce travel time from two hours to 30 minutes.
According to various documents and statements from FinEst Bay representatives about the tunnel, it will be built using 60 boring machines and will include the construction of two tunnels, one for passenger and another for freight trains. Sam Vesterbacka, in statements to the media, including Euronews, says the project will have the added benefit of two artificial islands that can accommodate up to 50,000 people.
The construction of the Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel was initiated as part of the Finnish-Estonian FinEst Link project, which is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
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