To leave a message for the future generations, on 20 July 2022, at the construction site of the future Rail Baltica Central Hub in Riga, the parties involved in the project solemnly embedded a time capsule in the foundations of the new station building grounds. Preparation of the time capsule started already last September, in 2021, when the “Connecting Europe Express” stopped in Riga and continued today symbolically marking the next important phase – construction of the foundations of the new Rail Baltica Central station.
The time capsule was prepared on September 21, 2021, in the presence of the Head Director-General of the European Commission’s department for Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) Henrik Hololei, Marius Skuodis, Minister of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania, Taavi Aas, Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications in Estonia and Tālis Linkaits, Minister of Transport in Latvia as well as the management of Rail Baltica delivery organizations RB Rail AS, “Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas”, containing messages and commemorative symbols for the future generations. On July 20, after the progress report of the project, the time-capsule was supplemented with symbolic messages provided by the representatives of the Riga City Council and the project’s builders, the general association BERERIX.
“Currently, Rail Baltica construction site at the Riga Central Station is making visible progress – by every day we can witness how Rail Baltica is becoming a real infrastructure. Modern railway connection with the Baltic states of Western Europe is especially important now, during the Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the new railway is becoming another safety link for us,” said Transport Minister Tālis Linkaits.
“We have reached the next-level of readiness as foundations of the new station building of the central multimodal hub of Rail Baltica in Riga are being poured. Already in the middle of 2024, we will have a fully functioning southern part of the station with new tracks, and this is an object that will serve our future generations for a long time. At the same time, all the necessary preparatory works are being carried out so that the construction works of the railway infrastructure can be started outside Riga,” emphasized Kaspars Vingris, Chairman of the Management Board at “Eiropas Dzelzceļa līnijas”.
“Almost a year has passed since the Connecting Europe Express stopped at the Riga Central Railway Station to symbolically mark the connection of Rail Baltica and the Baltic States into the European railway network. During this time, we have experienced significant project development, including active construction of Riga Central Hub,” said Agnis Driksna, Chairperson of the Management Board and CEO at RB Rail AS. “Today, the geopolitical context has changed, creating need for more focused and accelerated implementation of the project, and thus establishing a new, strategic transport and defence corridor, connecting the Baltics with the rest of Europe. I would like to emphasize that Rail Baltica is a long-term partnership project, therefore we particularly appreciate cooperation with our suppliers and strategic partners at EU, national and municipality level, who are ensuring continuous support for the project.”
“We are pleased that also in this part of the Rail Baltica project, the involvement of the future users of the project, or the public, is of great importance. More than 80% of suggestions from the public and NGOs in the context of functionality and accessibility solutions have been considered based on rational discussions, and more than 90% of design works have been completed. Therefore, we can safely and confidently start the construction of the station. The new station has the potential to become Riga’s business card – it will be modern, meet international requirements, safe, sustainable and, no less important – will successfully fit into the Riga skyline. In our time capsule message, we highlighted this important aspect of cooperation with society, because only by respecting the interests of future users, high-quality international professionals can achieve a good result,” says Guntis Āboltiņš-Āboliņš, Managing director of “BERERIX”.
About Rail Baltica Riga Central Hub
After the construction of Rail Baltica’s Riga Central multimodal node,citizens and city guests will have a modern, aesthetically attractive and comfortable station infrastructure on three levels. Two more new platforms will complement the existing platforms: all platforms will be lifted, improving the convenience of railway users of both railway widths when boarding trains. Riga Central railway station will not only have transport services, but also restaurants, cafes, waiting rooms, shops, and other services necessary for passengers, etc.
A lot of attention in the design was paid to accessibility solutions – tactile guidance from public transport stops on Gogoļa Street to train platforms will be provided for visually impaired people, and a system of 22 escalators, 12 elevators and stairs will be ensured. Rail Baltica Riga Central Hub will also ensure numerous mobility improvements – a new “kiss & ride” street for safe pick-up and drop-off of passengers, luggage transfer and transportation all the way to the airport, convenient connections with Riga International Bus Station and other transport hubs.