On 14th of March 2022, the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS together with the Lithuanian electricity transmission system operator Litgrid signed a cooperation agreement establishing basing principles of collaboration for the implementation of the Rail Baltica global project.
“Rail Baltica is the largest and the most impressive railway electrification project in the history of all Baltic States with the total length of 870 km, of which 392 km in Lithuania. With the operations of the Rail Baltica, demand for electricity in Lithuania will increase by as much as 2.9%. Therefore, smooth cooperation with Litgrid is essential and allows more efficient cooperation in electrifying the Rail Baltica mainline and preparing high-voltage transmission networks to supply the required electricity”, says Marius Narmontas, Head of the Lithuanian Branch of RB Rail AS.
“The demand for electricity in Lithuania is consistently growing, and the impending rapid electrification of the country’s railways will further strengthen this trend. Therefore, when preparing the development plans of the Lithuanian electricity transmission grid for the next decade, we include future infrastructure changes in them so that our partners can effectively achieve their goals. We are currently implementing synchronization with Continental European Synchronous Area, preparing an electricity transmission grid for the expansion of renewables, strengthening the country’s internal networks, and investing in the renovation of transformer substations. All this is to ensure the reliable operation of the electricity system and to enable the implementation of such ambitious electrification projects as Rail Baltica”, says Rokas Masiulis, CEO of Litgrid.
Rail Baltica electrification system will be designed and implemented as a single system across the three Baltic States, which will require an extra need to address complexity stemming from cross-border effects considering that in Rail Baltica there are three cross-border sections between Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Overall, 870 km length of the double-track leads to the need for more than 2 000 km of catenary system, ~4 350 tonnes of copper materials, and ~50 000 masts.
The fully electrified high-speed Rail Baltica railway line will not emit CO2 and will contribute to climate change mitigation to the whole region. According to 2018 data from the European Commission, trains emit only 0.4% of the total amount of emissions, whereas the most polluting part – around 71.8 % – is contributed by other means of road transport. A fully electrified European-compliant train track connecting the Baltic States will be capable of replacing other existing passengers and freight means of road transportation.
Rail Baltica is a new fast, conventional double-track electrified railway line with a maximum design speed of 249 km/h (the maximum operational speed of 234 km/h) on the route from Tallinn through Pärnu – Rīga – Panevėžys – Kaunas to the Lithuanian-Polish border, with a connection from Kaunas to Vilnius, and related infrastructure.