Finland willing to extend Rail Baltica project north of Helsinki

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Finnish authorities say they are taking steps that would allow them to join the 6-billion-euro Rail Baltica infrastructure project in future.

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications said February 1 it was setting up a new state-owned company, Oy Suomen Rata Ab, which would be used to develop various railway projects, with Rail Baltica listed as one of the company's areas of concern.

A statement from the Ministry said that when completed, Rail Baltica will be a new route for Finnish transport to key markets. 

"Finland will take part in the RB Rail AS joint venture.  Once completed, Rail Baltica will be an important new route for transports from Finland to the central market areas. Through its partnership in the venture, Finland will promote the development of the core network corridor from Helsinki to the north. 

"The following terms will be set for the partnership in the joint venture:  The RB Rail AS joint venture will be responsible for all matters concerning the whole project, for example EU funding will go through the venture.

"Instructions that ensure the transparency of procurements will be included in the competitive tendering process. The level of management and administration of the venture will be professional," the statement added.

The relatively modest sum of 2 million euros has been earmarked from the capital allocated to Oy Suomen Rata Ab for use by the RB Rail company jointly owned by the Baltic states which is in charge of the project.

The move does not see Finland becoming a full partner in the RB Rail holding company, and most of Oy Suomen Rata Ab's money will be directed on other projects in Finland, including development of the Helsinki-Turku rail connection, reorganization and modernization of rolling stock.

RB Rail AS is a multi-national joint venture of the Republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which has been established to implement Rail Baltica – a high-speed rail line infrastructure project from Tallinn to the Lithuanian/Polish border. It has a price tag of 6 billion euros and the first trains are expected to start running in 2025.


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