Finland and Estonia have agreed to explore the possibility to build an undersea railway tunnel connecting Helsinki and Tallinn.
The proposed tunnel will strengthen cooperation in the development of mobility and transport between the regions.
Government officials from both countries have also signed a memorandum of understanding committed to further investigating the project such as economic preconditions for the construction and operation of such a tunnel, as well as its socioeconomic impact.
Expected to cost about €13bn, the railway tunnel would create better transport links for the many Estonians who already commute into Helsinki, according to BBC.
It currently takes around 90min to travel between the cities by fast ferry and the new railway link would reduce travel times to about 30min.
Helsinki officials noted in a statement that: "Helsinki and Tallinn together form an economic area of approximately 1.5 million people. To fully utilise the area’s potential, transport between the cities should be faster and flow easier than at present."
The FinEst Link project will form a part of the North Sea-Baltic Corridor, which is one of the EU’s TEN-T Core Network Corridors.
FinEst Link would also connect Helsinki to Rail Baltica, a new standard-gauge line that links Tallinn, Riga, Kaunas, Warsaw and Berlin.
According to a pre-feasibility study published last year by the cities of Helsinki and Tallinn, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council and the Harju County government suggested that the tunnel’s construction would be economically viable.
The fast Rail Baltica railway connection from Tallinn to Poland is expected to be completed in 2025, following which the journey time by rail from Tallinn to Warsaw will be 4h and 15min.
Image: Executives from both the countries at the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU). Photo: courtesy of City of Helsinki.