Rail Baltica project signs 8-million-euro 'Shadow Operator' contract

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RB Rail, the joint venture of the three Baltic states in charge of the Rail Baltica infrastructure project said August 30 it has signed an 8-million-euro deal with a consultancy.

"[An] agreement was signed with a joint venture consisting of Baltic States DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH, International Directorate RENFE-Operadora Entidad Pública Empresarial and Ingeniería y Economía del Transporte S.M.E M.P. S.A about the Shadow Operator services for Rail Baltica," a statement from RB Rail said.

According to RB Rail, "Shadow Operator services" means "a long-haul consultancy contract for a period of next six years with an opportunity to prolong the services and will remain in force until the inception of train operation on the Rail Baltica corridor. The total amount of the agreement is 8 million euros.  

"Shadow Operator services include railway engineering advisory services, providing third party independent assessment regarding the development of railway operation and maintenance for Rail Baltica, and proposing recommendations for organizational, operational, and commercial models of railway infrastructure and facilities," RB Rail added.

However, the consultants will not be making all the decisions on behalf of the officials in charge of the project, even if the size and length of the contract will inevitably give them considerable sway.

Burhan Erkan, Executive Director, Baltic States, DB Engineering & Consulting said: “The nature of the Shadow Operation is to oversee the requirements of the Rail Baltica users’ from all three Baltic States and beyond, and to provide solutions from the operator’s perspective.”

"While work on defining the future infrastructure model is in the progress and final decisions still to be taken, outcomes of the Shadow Operator services will bring an optimal railway operation and maintenance model along with tailored Rail Baltica operational concept, various technical strategies, plans, and work procedures to meet future infrastructure management, train operation, and users’ needs,” said Marc-Philippe el Beze, Chief Technical Officer and Member of the Management Board at RB Rail AS.

Rail Baltica is a 5.8-billion-euro project to build a high-speed, European gauge rail link connecting the Baltic states.

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