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Ar vilcienu no Rīgas uz Viļņu – iespējams, jau šogad

Cautious optimism about future Rīga-Vilnius train

The first train ride on the Riga-Vilnius route could take place still this year, according to Lithuanian railway company LTG Link. The Latvian side is more cautious but promises not to hinder the project, Latvian Television reported November 26.

There are two ways to get from Rīga to Vilnius – a bus and a plane, but there will be a third soon. The expected journey time on the train is 4 hours and 15 minutes, about as long as a bus or car ride takes. The price of the train route ticket is not yet disclosed. There are only a couple of stops on the train between Riga and Vilnius – Jelgava, Joniškis, Šiauliai, Kaišiadorys and Vilnius.

Currently, the train schedule is not yet known, namely how often it will run.

“Rail travel develops every year across the European Union. We see that Lithuania and Latvia do not have to be an exception,“ said Gediminas Šečkus, acting CEO of LTG Link. 

LTG link has announced that the route could be unveiled in 2023, with the provisional date of the first ride set for December 27. The plan is called rather ambitious by the Latvian Transport Minister Kaspars Briškens (Progressives), who at the same time explains that there will be no political obstacles to the opening of the route.

“These are not politicians organizing such transport. Politically, all three ministers have expressed a desire to establish such connectivity,” Briškens told LTV. “What's next is the work of industry professionals to do it in the most secure way and find it to be convenient for all passengers.”

The Minister also said that he would have preferred Lithuanians to carry out such a route in cooperation with Latvian Pasažieru Vilciens, but it does not have such new rolling stock. LTG Link stresses that the trip will only be for international passengers. They do not plan to enter Latvia in the internal market. That is, on the Rīga-Vilnius voyage, you will not be able to purchase a ticket, for example, on the Rīga-Jelgava route.

“Which city you go from Lithuania to Latvia and back is irrelevant,” explained Šečkus. “The key is for Latvia and Lithuania to get an international connection again after a 20-year hiatus.”

In addition to the planned voyages on the Riga-Vilnius route, the Estonian train operator “Elron” has announced plans to make trips on the Riga-Tartu route next year. In this case, however, there is not that much clarity.

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