On 2 June a new public procurement competition for the design and design supervision services for the construction of the section from Kaunas (Jiesia) to the Lithuania-Poland border was launched. The tender on behalf of the LTG Infra is organized by the Rail Baltica joint venture RB Rail AS.
The competition consists of two stages, where the first stage the competition is the qualification stage. Applications can be submitted by 01 August 2022, in the Latvian procurement system EIS. The second stage of the competition is the proposal submission stage and negotiations. Contract of design and design supervision services for the construction of a new 78 km long line Kaunas (Jiesia) to the Lithuanian-Polish border is planned to be signed at the beginning of 2023. Works will be financed by the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) and the Lithuania state funds.
“Launching this procurement is an important milestone for the Rail Baltica Global Project. More than 640 km of the mainline across the Baltic States are already under design and while complex due to the unprecedented scale of the works, the next phase of construction works have already started, and work on railway systems is progressing ambitiously”, said Agnis Driksna, RB Rail AS Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of the Management Board.
“One of the main goals of the Rail Baltica project is to integrate the Baltic states into the European rail network. The new section „Kaunas – Lithuanian-Polish” fully compliant with the Rail Baltica Global project parameters will open opportunities not only for passengers but also for freight carriers to choose a railway for the delivery of goods on the North Sea-Baltic core network corridor and strengthen cooperation between the Baltic states and Poland. Regional trains will provide connections to smaller towns and settlements around the new train line,” said Marius Narmontas, Head of the Lithuanian Branch at RB Rail AS.
The subject matter of the competition is to provide design and design supervision services for the construction of railway track substructure, superstructure, as well as related civil structures on the new standard gauge (1435 mm) high-speed double track, electrified railway Rail Baltica line section from Kaunas (Jiesia) to the Lithuanian-Polish border. The preliminary scope of the Rail Baltica mainline „Kaunas – Lithuanian-Polish border” section consists of a 1435 mm gauge railway double track of approximately 78 km length, 27 road viaducts, 26 railway viaducts, 27 wildlife crossings, 46 culverts, and other infrastructure and utilities. The overall contract is subdivided into smaller sections. Master design services include such activities as site investigations, design proposals, and master designs including the acquisition of building permits. The contract also foresees the provision of Detailed Technical Design and Design Author Supervision services to be provided upon request.
Recently, after active discussions and talks with representatives of municipalities and the public, the Ministry of Transport and Communications approved the optimal route alternative of the Rail Baltica railway from Kaunas (Jiesia) to the Lithuania-Poland border. Considering the opinion of most of the residents, the shortest option being the most remote from the urban areas – alternative 6A – has been chosen.
This alternative and decision taken are strongly supported also by RB Rail AS considering the Rail Baltica Global project perspective and commitment to maximizing the overall long-term socio-economic benefits of Rail Baltica as a truly cross-border project.
The chosen alternative allows shorter travel times for all major destinations for passengers and freight train services, and the shorter length of railway track. These parameters combine both the fastest travel for all Rail Baltica passengers and ensure the lowest maintenance costs for railway infrastructure. Chosen alternative also allows for delivering the necessary capacity for freight trains along the Rail Baltica economic corridor, serving the economy and the citizens of Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.
The smart combination of the Rail Baltica railway with the currently operating single European-gauge railway from the Polish border to Kaunas will allow providing a faster connection to Kaunas for Marijampole region residents (Šeštokai, Kalvarija, Alytus, and other) while keeping the connectivity of all intermediate stations on-axis Kaunas – Kazlų Rūda – Marijampole, ensuring optimal daily commuting conditions.
The conclusions on the recommended alternative are also in line with the outputs of the Upgrade feasibility study for the section “Polish/Lithuanian state border–Kaunas–RRT Palemonas”, completed in 2018, and with the ongoing study “Kaunas Node 1435/1520 mm Operation Expertise Services”. Both studies aimed to define the conditions for optimal railway services in the Kaunas and South-West of Lithuania region while efficiently bridging the missing link on the EU’s North Sea-Baltic transport corridor.
Passenger trains will be able to travel up to 249 km/h on the Rail Baltica railway line. The journey from Jiesia to the border with Poland is expected to take up to 19 minutes. Upon completion of construction of Rail Baltica, the journey from Kaunas to Warsaw will take 3.5 hours, and reaching the Polish capital from Vilnius will only take a little more than 4 hours.