Quote from: jax on 2021-05-17, 06:07:26If the Estonian government doesn't want to fund a fairly small and cheap upgrade to the Pärnu branch, that indicates that they don't value it highly, not that they have been bamboozled by the EU.No, it is not a fairly small and cheap upgrade. The technical parameters say: - speed 249 km/h for passenger trains - gauge 1435 mmWe don't have a high-speed rail here and our local gauge is different (same as in Russia), so the change is quite notable. Nothing in the current tracks permits high speed or is heading in the wanted direction, so new land needs to be appropriated to straighten the railways to fit the planned route. The current railway network in the Baltic countries reflects the fact that it is derived from Czarist era, looking like tentacles from Russia.In Estonia there was a long debate whether the line should pass through Tartu (second largest city where also about half of parliament and government politicians are from) or Pärnu (the summer capital, i.e. the rail would properly serve tourism and it is also the straightest line, giving hope for high speed). Eventually Pärnu "won" but then the existing rail line was killed off under the pretence of building Rail Baltica.As I said previously, the problem with the Rail Baltica project is that the three governments treat it in rather different ways. Estonia appears to take it seriously, promising a straight high-speed train to Berlin, nothing of which has been built, yet the existing Pärnu railway has already been abandoned in favour of something that probably will not get done.Lithuania takes it completely unseriously, using the funds to upgrade the rails between Kaunas and Vilnius, which is geographically perpendicular to the Rail Baltica. Kaunas-Vilnius passage has already been upgraded with the Rail Baltica funds, but just to improve the existing traffic at existing parameters. Lithuanians are calmly keeping their existing railways and inserting rails inside rails, as if implementing the new gauge (and receiving funding for it) while ensuring that none of the Rail Baltica trains will be able to use it.Latvia has recently started to clear way for the station complex at Riga airport which, again, would be an offshoot or even at cross purposes to the entire idea of highspeed rail line. In your world, is an airport mover (tram, rail shuttle or whatever you call it) the same thing as a high-speed long-distance train?
If the Estonian government doesn't want to fund a fairly small and cheap upgrade to the Pärnu branch, that indicates that they don't value it highly, not that they have been bamboozled by the EU.
Meanwhile, how's Oslo-Stockholm high-speed railway coming along? What's your vision on that one?
The branch line to Pärnu needed an upgrade, Wikipedia says 17 MEUR.
That is small change for a rail project (1/500th of Rail Baltica), even when Estonia would have to pay for it out of its own pocket. That indicates to me that something of this was true:The government didn't like railThe branch was not profitable/well-usedThe government wanted a clean break with Russian past and Finno-Russian gauge lines
There is no requirement to shut down existing lines when a new line is built.
It took some negotiation skills to get Vilnius in as a branch to Rail Baltica, but they succeeded. Initially they demanded that the line should pass Vilnius, the capital, so they won this compromise to make this line reasonably fast. Estonia could have tried to include Tartu that way, or Latvia Daugavpils, but they didn't. And frankly Lithuania had a much better case. They are the only ones without their capital on the line. Connecting rail and airports is both smart and common. When the airport isn't strictly on the line, a parallel airport branch is often the solution. That is the case with the Swedish East Link project, or rather was, as the airport branch is cut to save costs (and to local protest).
Also, so that you don't complain about this project 5 years from now, when the line is supposed to be finished, this is not a high-speed rail project in EU terminology. "High speed" means 250+ km/h...
This remains my top complaint because high speed - to Berlin within the same day - was the main selling point of the project in the beginning. The fact that this will not be so means that the entire project has been a lie all along.
Not only Russia's Near Abroad. The Baltic Sea is kind of the EU Mare Nostrum.
Quote from: ersi on 2021-05-17, 12:25:46This remains my top complaint because high speed - to Berlin within the same day - was the main selling point of the project in the beginning. The fact that this will not be so means that the entire project has been a lie all along.Rail entusiasts always do that, trying to sell in some edge case as the main selling point.
Same here: with upgrades to the Swedish rail network you could take the train from Stockholm to Amsterdam. Well, yes, I guess you could, but would you?
Given that the Baltic states are practically depopulated by blue banana standards, you are getting top notch infrastructure basically for free. Six million people elsewhere in Europe wouldn't get this largesse.
The reason is of course strategic. It is in the interest of the EU, and the Baltic states, to have the Eastern bank of the Baltic Sea well-connected.
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