Today, February 16, German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Latvian President Egils Levits, along with their accompanying delegations, visited the construction site of the Rail Baltica Central Hub in Riga at Riga Central Station. During the visit, they met with Rail Baltica global project implementers and representatives and discussed the importance of Rail Baltica to the Baltic region. The project will act as a catalyst to improve connectivity, further integration into Europe’s railway network and offer wide economic benefits. Visiting Rail Baltica was part of President Steinmeier visited Rail Baltica during a two-day visit to Riga, Latvia.
During the visit, Agnis Driksna, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS and Burhan Erkan, Executive Director, Baltic States, at DB Engineering & Consulting addressed the group.
“Our meeting here today at the future site of the Rail Baltica Central Hub at Riga Central Station, marks the start of the next stage of the Rail Baltica project – full-scale construction phase in all three Baltic countries. Over 200 Baltic companies along with 50 companies from other EU countries, including seven from Germany, are currently working with us to make this project a reality,” noted Agnis Driksna, Chairman of the Board and CEO of RB Rail AS. “Germany is a strategic partner in all aspects of implementing the Rail Baltica project – both in providing the physical infrastructure, as well as through major investment and business development opportunities to prepare for the planned commercial operation phase.”
In Latvia, DB Engineering & Consulting and its project partners are currently involved in four large-scale strategic Rail Baltica projects: reconstruction of Riga Central Station, design of the Vangaži – Salaspils – Misa main section, planning and design of the Daugava Combined Rail-Road Bridge, and electrification of the Rail Baltica main line.
“The project is very impressive from a technical point of view, as implementing 870 km of green field high-speed line through three countries is a unique undertaking in Europe. However, in addition, the Rail Baltica project will bring people closer together and create new cross-border opportunities in the Baltic States. This is what makes Rail Baltica so special,” said Mr. Burhan Erkan, Executive Director Baltic States of DB Engineering & Consulting.
“Additionally, DB Engineering & Consulting has recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the representatives of the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Economics and Ministry of Welfare to support Latvia with the DB Rail Academy experience to provide necessary skills and trainings for the experts and future experts of the industry, ensuring the sustainable development of the workforce in this region in the future,” added Mr. Erkan.
The visit was concluded with an extended Q&A session. The progress of the Rail Baltica project as well as technical aspects of construction of the Rail Baltica Central Hub were discussed with representatives of the Rail Baltica project, including with Kaspars Vingris, Chairman of the Board and CEO at SIA Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas, Andis Linde, Head of Stakeholder Management at BERERIX and Guntis Āboltiņš – Āboliņš, member of BERERIX joint venture committee.
“Trough common efforts a significant progress for implementation of Rail Baltica has been reached in Latvia. Active construction works are ongoing for the most complex sections of Latvian parts of the project – Rail Baltica Riga Central Multimodal Hub and station with related infrastructure works at the “Riga” airport. The largest Rail Baltica construction tender for the mainline has been issued with scope of works exceeding 200km, as well as other preparatory activities are ongoing to start creating connections between the stations already in 2023,” said Kaspars Vingris Chairman of the Board at SIA Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas.
Rail Baltica has established partnerships with seven German companies through open procurement, including Deutsche Bahn, TUV Sud, Obermeyer, Railistics, RMCon, PTV, Gauff Solutions and others, as well as long-term strategic relationships with the German Railway Industry Association (VDB), German-Baltic Chamber of Commerce (AHK), Logistics Alliance Germany and others.
Due to its European strategic importance, the Rail Baltica project is receiving generous support from the European Union, with up to 85% of financing granted through the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program. This project will close the gap on the North Sea – Baltic TENT-T Corridor to connect Baltic states with Europe and will provide modern high-speed railway transport infrastructure along with improved connectivity, mobility, defence, and wider socio-economic benefits for the region.