The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) has offered a €114m loan to Lithuanian Railways for the construction of a European-gauge track, as part of the future Rail Baltica route.
The loan, which has a maturity period of 19 years, will also be used to upgrade parts of the Trans European East-West corridors in Lithuania.
Proceeds from the loan will be used to build a 115km European-gauge 1,435mm railroad track from the Lithuanian-Polish border to the city of Kaunas, parallel to the current wider-gauge 1,520mm line.
The project also involves the reconstruction of a 60km wider-gauge track from the city of Šiauliai to the Lithuanian-Latvian border.
Following the refurbishment, trains will be capable of travelling at about 120kmph on both the newly-built and the reconstructed lines.
NIB president and CEO Henrik Normann said the loan will help increase the capacity, safety and reliability of Lithuania’s railway infrastructure.
"The NIB-financed European-gauge track built in Lithuania is the first step in improving connectivity between the Baltic railway network and Western Europe," Normann said.
The line will be first European-gauge track to be laid in the Baltic countries to connect to the rail network of Poland and facilitate passenger and freight transportation to other European Union countries.
The loan will also be used for upgrading parts of the Trans European East-West corridors, including the Kiev-Minsk-Vilnius-Klaipeda and Kaunas-Kaliningrad branches, which carry about 90% of all railway transit cargo and about 70% of railway passengers in Lithuania.
The state-owned Lithuanian Railways operates the country’s rail network, which spans about 1,767km.
Image: The NIB loan will be used to build a 115km railroad track from the Lithuanian-Polish border to Kaunas as well as rebuild 60km of track from the city of Šiauliai to the Lithuanian-Latvian border. Photo courtesy of Nordic Investment Bank (NIB).