The Rail Baltica project joint venture RB Rail has signed a cooperation agreement with Lithuanian electricity transmission operator Litgrid and implementing body LTG Infra to prepare for the electrification of the rail line.
Litgrid and LTG Infra will integrate Rail Baltica’s traction substations into their existing network to prepare for the electrification of the 392km Lithuanian section of the 870km line.
Irmantas Butkauskas, head of RB Rail’s Lithuanian branch, said: The agreement, “confirming the division of works and responsibilities, is significant for the application for further funding for Rail Baltica electrification and allows us to move forward with the work with our partners at a fast pace.
“Similar cooperation is taking place with transmission network operators also in Estonia and Latvia. This ensures consistency in project implementation in all countries.”
The agreement is the latest step forward for the project, which will connect the Baltic countries with a double-track railway linking Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland.
Five sites will be prepared for integrating Rail Baltica substations into Litgrid’s network, with Litgrid CEO Rokas Masiulis saying the agreement allows the companies to start planning resources to prepare for a quick process when electrification of the line begins.
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Masiulis said: “By signing the cooperation agreement, we can already start planning resources and making plans so that when the electrification implementation phase starts, we will be ready to promptly approve the prepared technical designs of the structures, conclude the connection agreements, select the contractors for the installation and conversion works and other important steps.”
The project is co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility but has been hit by rising costs and delays since it began in 2016, with Latvian public broadcaster LSM reporting costs could reach €8bn ($8.7bn) instead of the €5.8bn originally proposed.