Rail Baltica is "beyond excited" about the future

The Rail Baltica project has published a new promotional video that, on the one hand, lists the claimed benefits of the new high-speed rail network across the Baltic states but, on the other hand, takes these claims so far that it seems extraordinary it hasn't been built already, given the apparently miraculous effect it will have on pretty much everything.

The two-minute video states at the outset that the 6-billion-euro-and-counting project is "so much more than just a railway" and proceeds to demonstrate this with a series of increasingly grandiose claims.  

"Can you imagine getting from Rīga to Tallinn in just one hour and forty minutes?" the viewer is initially asked – to which the obvious answer is "Yes, because I am aware of the existence of aeroplanes."

Supplemetary information tells us that this is less time than it would take to watch the movie Back To The Future, which is true, as Back To The Future has a running time of 1 hour and 56 minutes. Whether this piece of film trivia is provided so that you don't inadvertently try to watch Back To The Future on the train and miss the ending, or whether it is to hint that the trains themselves may have the time-travel capabilities of a De Lorean sportscar modified by a mad scientist, is not explained.

"It's exciting how fast we'll be able to travel thanks to Rail Baltica," the video continues, though this exciting speed is not actually specified. According to the project's technical brief, the answer is 234 km/h (145 mph) for passenger trains. Whether that counts as exciting may depend upon your experience of unrestricted sections of autobahn.

The new railways will be good for "business, the planet and security" the video says, pointing out that constructing the large infrastructure project will provide jobs and improve mobility for civilians and the military alike.

Getting more specific, the benefits of Rail Baltica include:

  • it will "open up a whole new economic corridor"
  • it will help with "sustainable economic development"
  • it will "open up access to high capacity digital networks... a benefit to businesses and individuals alike"
  • there will be "better access to things like study and workplaces. This means better education opportunities and jobs"
  • there will be "better access to healthcare"
  • there will be "better access to resources" with "improved access to materials and parts, so we'll be able to make more things"
  • there will be "more opportunities for culture, entertainment and tourism" because "broader horizons bring more understanding and empathy towards others". After this sweeping philosophical generalization it is a bit of a come-down to immediately follow it up with...
  • "And don't forget shopping." 

"We are beyond excited to bring these long-term socio-economic benefits to the region," says the voiceover which does sound well "beyond excited".

It is not the first time Rail Baltica has produced videos that astonish.

Meanwhile construction works continue. The first trains were originally scheduled to run in 2026, but that date has already been moved back to 2030 at the earliest. That four year delay does at least give you the opportunity to watch the entire Back To The Future trilogy 5,840 times.


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