Climate change impact on the Rail Baltica railway to be assessed

The joint venture of the three Baltic states RB Rail AS is progressing with a study, which assesses the climate change impact on the design, construction, maintenance and operations of the Rail Baltica railway. On November 14 the RB Rail AS hosted a meeting with the institutions involved in the project and research company to discuss the initial findings, to identify the critical environment elements at different railway sections and to review the first risk mitigation strategies. The main objective of the final study is to be prepared for upcoming climate changes during the whole lifecycle of the project.


Assessing climate change impact is a part of the Consolidated Preliminary Technical Design activity for the entire railway line. As part of the consolidation, the vulnerability to climate change is being assessed, including proposal identification of necessary long-term adaptation measures (technical, technological or operational), arising from, for example, increased temperature, extreme precipitation, and increased risk of flooding. Design guidelines for how to deal with climate change in the design phase and which adaptation measures to implement will be developed to be incorporated in the railway design phase.


Adaptation for climate change is attainable by choosing the right materials for each structure in each specific place, if there is significant hazard potential during lifecycle of the Rail Baltica railway. By choosing the right materials, risks that can change the estimated 100-year design life of the project can be reduced along with the overall maintenance costs.


Moreover, the study will identify the most vulnerable parts of the railway infrastructure and propose relevant adaptation measures. It is expected to obtain sustainable solutions on how railway’s influence on the environment can be mitigated.


The study is being performed by the Estonian environmental management and spatial planning consultancy company Hendrikson & Ko in cooperation with SIA Vides Eksperti and DGE Baltic Soil and Environment. The general work packages of the study include an analysis of available climate projections, relevant studies and strategies, risk identification and assessment along with vulnerability assessment, and adaptation option development and assessment. The study completion is expected in January 2019.