Rail Baltica, source: RB Rail

Rail Baltica: Seven hours for train travel from Tallinn to Warsaw

Rail Baltica, source: RB Rail

From 2026 passengers will travel between Tallinn and Warsaw by the Rail Baltica line in less than seven hours. The high-speed trains will run from Tallinn to Warsaw and Vilnius four times per day at the initial stage and six times per day within 10 years. The line will also serve the rail links from Vilnius to Warsaw via Kaunas up to ten times per day. The timetable is mentioned in the Rail Baltica Operational Plan for 2026 – 2056 developed by the German company ETC Gauff Mobility together with COWI (Denmark) and Institut für Bahntechnik (Germany).

Rail Baltica will provide a fast and comfort rail link between the Baltic capitals. The trains will run between Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius every two hours. The Operational Plan includes the entering into service the night connections from Tallinn and Vilnius to Berlin. Moreover, the passengers will be able to travel by train to Riga International Airport, the busiest one in the region. The travel time will take 1 hour 52 minutes for inhabitants of Tallinn and 1 hour 42 minutes for people from Vilnius. The passengers from Riga will reach the airport just in 10 minutes.

The frequency of high-speed trains is based on the anticipated passenger demand. “The main outcome of the operational plan is to indicate how the Rail Baltica infrastructure will meet the transport demand in the medium and long term, guaranteeing capacity for all types of train services. This plan will be used to ensure that Rail Baltica track is used efficiently from the first day of its operations and allowing to scale-up passenger and cargo services after the phase-in period,” the RB Rail’s Head of Systems and Operation Department Jean-Marc Bedmar said.

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Rail Baltica timetable, source: RB Rail

Rail Baltica timetable, source: RB Rail.

Regional service

The Operational Plan also includes the implementation of the regional and cross-border train service between three Baltic states. The trains will at a maximum speed of 200 kilometres per hour. It means new opportunities for passengers because the current rail links between the countries are underdeveloped. The document suggests a sufficient passenger demand for the regional train services from Bauska to Rīga, from Salacgrīva to Rīga (Latvia), from Pärnu to Tallinn (Estonia), and from Marijampole through Kaunas to Vilnius (Lithuania). The plan indicates a feasible demand for two cross-border trains – from Marijampole to Rīga (Lithuania-Latvia) and from Tallinn to Riga airport (Estonia-Latvia). However, the launch of these requires additional studies and governmental decisions.

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Rail Baltica scheme, source: RB Rail

Rail Baltica scheme, source: RB Rail.

Freight traffic

In addition, the document provides freight traffic on the future line. According to the document, two-three freight trains per hour will run on the railway at a maximum speed up to 120 kilometres per hour. They will have 1,050 metres long and 25-tonne axle load. It is expected that 80 per cent of freight trains will be the intermodal ones to carry containers and trucks. To promote the intermodal connections, three terminals will be developed on the Rail Baltica route: in Muuga (Estonia), Salaspils (Latvia) and Palemonas (Lithuania).

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko was editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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