Rail Baltica launches tender for route in Latvia

The first of the procurements of Rail Baltica’s basic route has been launched, with the tender for the main line in Latvia. It involves more than 200 kilometres of infrastructure – railway foundations and superstructures – for the route in Latvia outside the city limits of Riga. The procurement is the largest for the construction of a railway track in Latvia. 

It is planned to conclude a contract with the winner of the tender at the end of 2022, so that the construction of the new railway line in Latvia can start in the first half of 2023. The goal of Rail Baltica is that the entire railway project is operational in 2026.

Given the scope of the competition, the candidate must have many years of experience in the construction of railways and other engineering infrastructure, says the implementer of the Rail Baltica project in Latvia, the company European Railway Lines. The candidate must have a quality management and environmental management system in place and be experienced in a building information modeling (BIM) environment.

Rail construction

Next to the railway tracks, it involves construction of embankments, construction of railway bridges, roads and overpasses. The announced tender does not include the construction of railway electrification and signaling systems for the line. “We will see procurement in Estonia and Lithuania relatively soon, confirming the maturity of the project and the unified implementation of the project at all stages of the route”, says Agnis Driksna, Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of RB Rail AS, a joint venture of Rail Baltica.

Construction works on other sections and structures of the route will be procured in separate procurements, including sections of the route in the city of Riga (from Riga Airport to Torņkalns Station and from the Central Railway Station to Acone), Rail Baltica cross-border sections on the Estonian-Lithuanian border (total about 20 kilometres long) and the construction of the future Salaspils multimodal freight terminal.

Important step for Rail Baltica

“This is an important next step in the development of Rail Baltica, which confirms Latvia’s readiness to implement this project as soon as possible”, said the Latvian Minister of Transport Tālis Linkaits. “Reconstruction of Riga Central Station has been going on for a year now and Rail Baltica has also started construction of infrastructure at Riga International Airport. We are now taking rapid and convincing steps forward in preparing for the construction of the new main railway line in time.” According to the minister, the southern part to the Lithuanian border is the most technically ready to be started next.

“Rail Baltica’s main route is the missing link in the common European railway network, and it is important to bring the Baltic States closer – from Kaunas to Tallinn – to the whole of Central Europe”, comments Henrik Hololejs, European Commission Directorate-General for Transport and Mobility Manager.

Selecting the candidate

The procurement will take place in two stages: the first will involve the selection of candidates, and the second will assess and negotiate the initial tenders submitted by the tenderers, submit the final tenders and conclude the procurement contract. Candidates must apply by 28 January 2022. The second round is planned to be announced in April 2022 in order to conclude a contract with the winner of the second procurement stage at the end of 2022 and start construction works in the first half of 2023.

85 per cent of the project is funded by the Connecting Europe Facility, but the remaining part from the Latvian state budget. If the costs of the project should turn out higher, is is up to the Latvians and other baltic countries to cover it.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor of RailTech.com

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