SNC-Lavalin Group member Atkins has signed a contract with the contracting authority joint venture RB Rail to conduct an Infrastructure Management Study for the Rail Baltica Global project.

The study aims to determine the optimum model for the Rail Baltica infrastructure management project in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

It will identify the ideal model by assessing a diverse range of institutional, operational and commercial factors from multiple perspectives such as life-cycle cost and economic efficiency.

“This initial work will underpin all future activities on Europe’s biggest rail project for the next century.”

Furthermore, the study is expected to add transparency to the project and strengthen its chances for continued EU support.

Atkins UK and Europe Transportation division managing director Jamie Sharp said: “This initial work will underpin all future activities on Europe’s biggest rail project for the next century and we’re pleased to be helping progress Rail Baltica’s vision towards reality.

“This undertaking will also further develop our people and capabilities to deliver large scale passenger focused rail projects across the region.”

The Atkins team will work closely with the client throughout the planning and design phases of the project. It will also consult local stakeholders and future transport users during the study.

The study is scheduled to be carried out by the second half of this year.

RB Rail business development manager Kaspars Briskens said: “The Infrastructure management study shall provide a better assessment of the long-term value of the Rail Baltica infrastructure in all three Baltic countries and beyond, as well as evaluation of the socio-economic return on the European and national investments.

“It also aids and promotes a diligent, well-informed and substantiated future political decision-making process by the end of 2018 for the Rail Baltica infrastructure management.”

Atkins was selected to carry out the study through an open tender process. Besides Atkins, three other entities submitted their applications for this project.

A €5.8bn greenfield rail transport infrastructure project, Rail Baltica will integrate the Baltic states into the European rail network.