A study for a new rail tunnel from Helsinki Airport to Tallinn has been released

Posted on in News

Finest Tunnel

FINLAND: A study to link Helsinki and Tallinn via railway tunnel has been published by FinEst Link project.

According to the tudy, the railway tunnel would help create a metropolitan twin-city region of three million inhabitants in the future where people, goods and services could move around easily.

The Helsinki–Tallinn tunnel with travel time of only 30 minutes would enable daily commuting across the Gulf of Finland and connect the rail network from Central Europe via Finland to the Arctic.

"Geographically Finland resembles an island and the tunnel would offer a connection to the Central European rail network," says FinEst Link Project Director Kari Ruohonen.

The investment cost of the railway tunnel has been estimated at 13–20 billion euros.

The tunnel project could be economically feasible by using a public-private partnership model where the private sector finances the building of the tunnel. and an EU grant would be needed to cover 40% of the costs. After becoming operational, the ticket revenues from the trains and tunnel fees would cover the annual operational and maintenance costs of the tunnel. In addition, the train operation requires subsidies. The subsidy from Finland and Estonia is 280 million euros per year for 40 years. 

After a planning phase, the building and boring of the tunnel could start in 2025 and be built in 15 years. The tunnel would be ready for passengers and cargo in 2040.

The FinEst Link feasibility study presents an operational model where at peak hours passenger trains run at 20-minute intervals at 200km/h. The travel time would be 30 minutes and single ticket would cost 18 euros. Approximately 40 passenger trains could run between Helsinki and Tallinn daily.

According to the study, three station are planned on the Finnish side - Helsinki city centre, Pasila and Helsinki-Vantaa airport. In Tallinn, the tunnel would reach Ülemiste which is a growing commercial area a bit more than three kilometers away from the Old Town. Located close to the Tallinn airport, Ülemiste has a recently opened tram connection to the city center.

Finland's Minister of Transport and Communications Berner emphasised the increasing importance of the Arctic region from the viewpoint of both the Nordic countries and the EU. Well-functioning transport and telecommunication connections in turn are a prerequisite for the sustainable development and growth of the Arctic region, she said.

The aim now is to evaluate the results of the study in more detail during the spring and reflect on how the possible further work would be implemented and financed.

The FinEst Link project is a feasibility study financed by the EU's Interreg Central Baltic programme. The project has been coordinated by the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.