The Rail Baltica project does not only include track installation, but also construction of adjoining infrastructure such as terminals, stops, access roads and also a tramline in Estonia. A huge part of the adjoining infrastructure will benefit citizens of the specific areas independently from the Rail Baltica train movement. One of the positive examples is the tramline between RB Ülemiste and Tallinn Lennart Meri International Airport being operational already by September 1, 2017.
The construction of the tramline link between RB Ülemiste and Tallinn Airport is funded by the European Union from the CEF grant for the construction of the Rail Baltica infrastructure as it is necessary to improve the connectivity in Tallinn by carrying more passengers to and from the Rail Baltica terminal in Ülemiste once it will be developed. Additionally, this step goes along with the project’s aim to reduce the pollution that is arising not only from daily usage of personal transportation for longer travels, but also from the use of private cars and taxies within the city to arrive at the terminal. It is estimated that the trams will be scheduled to run every 6 minutes during the peak hours.
Technically the constructed tram connection to Tallinn Airport is an extension of the already existing 39 kilometre Tallinn tram network. The starting point of the extension is situated at the existing Ülemiste railway stop close to the Peterburi street, leading to the airport through the tunnel below the existing railway and Suur-Sõjamäe street, and leading to the airport where the turning loop is situated.
The overall length of the tram tracks in the extended section is around 1500 m covering the 800 meter distance between RB Ülemiste and Tallinn Airport. The tunnel is 150 m long. Altogether the project foresees development of three stations, the terminal station being connected to the Airport by a newly constructed pedestrian gallery.
Role in the current Tallinn urban area
The project is developed as an extension of the existing tram network, meaning that the city transport company Tallinna Linnatranspordi AS operating tramline 4 will go further from the current end station at Ülemiste Railway Station towards the Tallinn Airport.
Benefits to society
The tramline link will be of huge help for the Tallinn residents and guests bringing better connection between the city centre, airport and the busiest business area in Tallinn – the Ülemiste City. Additionally, the improved public transportation possibilities will lower the need to use private cars or taxies to reach previously distant area of the airport, lowering emissions in the city. The improved public transportation connections will give an effective alternative for moving around the city, offering to avoid congestions during peak hours as the tram tracks are separated from the rest of the traffic between the city centre and airport.
The cost of the works will be approximately 11.5 million euros. 85% of the costs are financed through CEF funding in the frame of the Rail Baltica Global project development including construction of adjoining infrastructure. The national co-financing is paid by the City of Tallinn.
The works will be completed in full no later than November, 2017. However, already by September of this year everyone will have the opportunity to come to or leave the Airport by tram as the extended route will be open for use.