The preliminary design for the Rail Baltica Ülemiste joint terminal “Light Stream“, the winning design by Zaha Hadid Architects and Esplan, has been completed, and the tender for construction work will be announced in 2021.
“For the past year, we have been hard at work on the preliminary design of Rail Baltica’s Ülemiste joint terminal, and now we have reached a solution that takes into account the wishes of various stakeholders, available opportunities, and the area’s future development plans. This is not solely Rail Baltica’s private undertaking – we are talking about a critical public transport node that will impact the lives of Tallinn’s residents and guests far into the future. Although the development of this part of town is still relatively haphazard, it is bound to become one of the most important lifelines connecting the Tallinn Airport and the entire Ülemiste district with the downtown city centre. We hope to begin construction already in 2021,“ said Tõnu Grünberg, Chairman of the Management Board of Rail Baltic Estonia.
The public procurement tender for the construction of the Ülemiste joint terminal and its surrounding area is scheduled for June 2021, and the works must be completed by the end of 2025. All existing public transport, i.e. trams, rail traffic, as well as motor vehicle and bus transport, must remain operational on Suur- Sõjamäe Road and around the T1 Mall of Tallinn throughout the construction phase. The railway connection with a track gauge of 1,520 mm, for which the public procurement tender is scheduled for the end of 2021, must be operational at its new location in the second half of 2023.
According to Grünberg, the naming competition for the new passenger terminal will probably be arranged next year. “Considering that we are located in the vicinity of the Tallinn Airport named after Lennart Meri, then our international terminal deserves to have a dignified name as well,” commented Grünberg. “We hope that a great number of Estonians will pitch in and help us find the perfect name.”
“We are extremely satisfied with the progress made thus far, especially considering the strategic importance of this project for Estonia. The Rail Baltica Ülemiste joint terminal is bound to become an innovative and forward-looking transport hub that delivers the best possible passenger experience. Additionally, the new terminal building and the adjacent public space will bring new life to the surrounding area,” said Gianluca Racana, Member of the Management Board of Zaha Hadid Architects.
Kadi Metsmaa, the CEO of Esplan OÜ, added that the design of the terminal is people-centered and the priority is to create a high-quality space, both inside the building and in the surrounding area. Accessibility is the main keyword that encapsulates the entire project. The Ülemiste joint terminal combines solutions for different modes of transport in a unique manner, primarily focusing on the well-being of pedestrians and non-motorised transport. The new energy and resource-efficient terminal building will also accommodate public transport, which is by nature an environmentally sound mode of transport.
The new Rail Baltica joint terminal will serve railway lines with track gauges 1,435 mm and 1,520 mm, both those that start from the Ülemiste station, as well as those passing through. The new joint terminal shall also accommodate both city and national bus transport, and if possible also international bus lines. The new terminal building will have three platforms that will be accessible both from inside the terminal, as well as directly from the city square under the railway tracks.
What is more, the preliminary design offers a solution to the surrounding area and the public space, envisioning an underground square between St. Petersburg Road and Suur-Sõjamäe Road that offers a new connection to pedestrians and non-motorised transport. The detailed plan of the area is under preparation and is currently on public display for feedback.
The design process of the railway infrastructure began this April with the conclusion of a contract with OÜ Reaalprojekt and OÜ AllSpark who had submitted a joint offer. The environmental impact assessment will be carried out by OÜ Hendrikson & Ko. The reconstruction of the Ülemiste railway infrastructure is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021.
Rail Baltica is an environmentally friendly and convenient rail connection, linking Estonia with other Baltic countries and with Central Europe. Upon completion, Rail Baltica will enable passengers to travel from Tallinn to Pärnu in 40 minutes and to Riga in only two hours.