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Old April 2nd, 2008, 02:33 PM   #1
Lightness
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FINLAND / ESTONIA | HSR Link

A preliminary feasibility study on a Helsinki, Finland - Tallinn, Estonia undersea rail tunnel has been proposed. The tunnel would be an extension to Finland for the planned Rail Baltica railway line, which is envisaged to link the Baltic countries with central Europe through Poland.

01.04.2008 | Helsingin Sanomat

http://www.rzd-partner.com/press/2008/04/01/321667.html

Mayors of Helsinki and Tallinn Revive Proposal for Rail Tunnel under Gulf of Finland


The cities of Helsinki and the Estonian capital Tallinn are to launch a study into the feasibility of an undersea railway tunnel between the two countries.

Helsinki Mayor Jussi Pajunen (Nat. Coalition Party) and Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar signed an agreement on the matter on Friday.

The mayors agreed that both Helsinki and Tallinn will apply for EU funding in May for preliminary study of the feasibility of such a project. The cost of the research project is expected to be about EUR 500,000 - 800,000. Both cities are ready to invest EUR 100,000 in the project at this stage.

Pajunen, who was reached on Friday evening as he was on his way home from the ferry from Tallinn, says that the study will be on the economic and transportation aspects of the tunnel project. If EU financing becomes available, a study could be ready by the end of 2009.

"The opening of the train tunnel will certainly not be celebrated for another 15 years. The report will decide how the project is pushed forward", Pajunen said.

Many of the proposals in the Greater Helsinki Vision idea contest emphasised the importance of reducing the distance between Helsinki and Tallinn.

"It is good that the matter has come forward from many directions. The cities are taking part in the application for EU funding as equals", Pajunen emphasised.

Tallinn Mayor Edgar Savisaar says that he is certain that the tunnel will be built one day, and that it will be economically profitable.

"This tunnel was discussed in Finland already ten years ago, but at that time those who proposed it were laughed at. People were not ready for it yet", Savisaar said on Friday evening through his aide.

The tunnel plan has received new impetus from the Rail Baltica project, calling for better railway connections from Poland through the Baltic countries to Estonia.

"Why couldn't it continue through an undersea tunnel to Finland",Savisaar says. "If France and Britain achieved it, then why couldn't Estonia and Finland?"

Technical details, such as where the mouths of the tunnel should be located, remain unknown, emphasised Deputy Mayor Pekka Sauri (Green) on Friday. The construction of a ferry connection carrying rail cars is also an option in the study.


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Old April 2nd, 2008, 08:48 PM   #2
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It sounds very interesting. I hope it will be done, one day
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 10:12 PM   #3
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Someone knows the freight traffic between Finland and the rest of Europe? To the three baltic states? And to Russia?

There is also the problem of the gauge.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:08 PM   #4
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There is also the problem of the gauge.
The gauge between Finland and the ex-Soviet countries (including the Baltics) is the same. The problem will come up when trains get to Poland.
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Old April 2nd, 2008, 11:18 PM   #5
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Exactly. I don't think that traffic between Finland and the balic states is very high. The tunnel loose a lot of it interest because of the break of gauge.

But Finland have trains to Russia, too. A conversion like the one hoped for the Iberian peninsula is harder to accept.

And beside the gauge, the economic problems of Eurotunnel should not be forgotten.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 12:12 AM   #6
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I don't think so! I was recently in Tallinn and in Helsinki and, well, it was pretty impressive the quantity of Finns in Tallinn. And the boats well, always crowded with Finns and all. I think this is not a disposable project, but very interesting. The Baltics have strong ties with the nordic countries, especially Estonia and Finland!
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 12:40 AM   #7
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The feasibility of this project depends on a number of factors, the size of any European Union funding being the biggest.

In the tunnel's favour, Estonia could expect large EU subsidies since it's still one of the poorer EU countries. This is just the kind of project the EU likes to fork out cash for. Finland on the other hand would be prepared to cough up top dollars for a permanent "land" link to central Europe that would circumvent Russia.

Currently any rail traffic (freight) travelling on rail-ferries between Germany and Finland change under-carriage in the southern Finnish port of Hanko to get around the gauge problem.

By the way, I noticed that this article was dated April 1. It's not an April Fool's joke though, it has been discussed quite substantially in Finnish media recently.
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Last edited by Lightness; April 3rd, 2008 at 12:47 AM.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 05:57 PM   #8
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Unbelievable
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:08 PM   #9
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Not really: http://www.tunnelbuilder.com/news-detail.php?pid=542
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:54 PM   #10
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This project is very unrealistic to me, especially the funding part. If Estonia was as rich as Finland, it might even happen, but Estonia will be poorer that Finland for the next 20 years at least.
EU is funding the whole Rail Baltica project(Warsaw-Tallinn) with only 200 million Euros at the moment. Why should the EU suddenly want to invest billions of Euros in this tunnel alone?
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Old April 4th, 2008, 01:04 AM   #11
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With 5% annual GDP growth for the next 10 years, Estonia will be as rich as Finland is today.
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Old April 4th, 2008, 02:04 AM   #12
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Do you think 5% a year is sustainable in 10 years? Especially in a country with a shrinking population? Only in China... (and ofc we doubt that too)
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Old April 4th, 2008, 08:16 PM   #13
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Estonia's GDP growth is below 5% at the moment.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:49 AM   #14
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If I see correctly, proposed tunnel should be about 70 km long. Considering, how expensive Eurotunnel was, this tunnel should cost no less than 15 billion €, more likely around 20. I very much doubt, that this price would ever be feasible, especially considering for low amount of possible traffic. Even Eurotunnel still produces losses after all these years, although potential for rail traffic there is way higher than it would ever be for Finland.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:21 PM   #15
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Channel tunnel and Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel can't really be compared. One is a connection between 2 countries while the other one is a connection between 2 cities that already have quite strong ties. Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel would lie in granite while the channel tunnel was drilled into chalk.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 04:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
Channel tunnel and Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel can't really be compared. One is a connection between 2 countries while the other one is a connection between 2 cities that already have quite strong ties. Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel would lie in granite while the channel tunnel was drilled into chalk.
But the Channel tunnel connects two countries with a population of about 60 million each, while this tunnen would connect countries with a population of only 1,4 and 5,3 million. Besides, I understood that the ferry connections between Helsinki and Talinn are quite fast already. I will be very surprised if this project turns out to be feasable.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 09:19 PM   #17
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But the Channel tunnel connects two countries with a population of about 60 million each, while this tunnen would connect countries with a population of only 1,4 and 5,3 million. Besides, I understood that the ferry connections between Helsinki and Talinn are quite fast already. I will be very surprised if this project turns out to be feasable.
It is just impossible with existing tech. Tallinn has 400k population while Helsinki less than 600k. It would be enough with 3 trains per day or less to connect them. Ticket on such trains would be extremely expensive. No big potential for freight also while Rail Baltic isn't finished. There are no chances EU would fund such project. But project and research could be made. In future tunnels wil become cheaper and it will be possible to build it. And project, geological research etc. will be made already.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 10:42 PM   #18
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Lots of Fins go to Tallinn to enjoy the city centre and especially the cheap beer. If a train ticket is going to be extremely expensive, the interest to drink a beer in Tallinn will diminish rapidly. Of course, this is only a small part of all the people using the tunnel, but still.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 05:30 AM   #19
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Couldn't they conceivably be able to run high speed trains that wind their way via St. Petersburg and back again? Travel times could potentially rival ferry times.
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Old April 6th, 2008, 08:10 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexriga View Post
It is just impossible with existing tech. Tallinn has 400k population while Helsinki less than 600k. It would be enough with 3 trains per day or less to connect them. Ticket on such trains would be extremely expensive. No big potential for freight also while Rail Baltic isn't finished. There are no chances EU would fund such project. But project and research could be made. In future tunnels wil become cheaper and it will be possible to build it. And project, geological research etc. will be made already.
What has that to do with that ???


Population ???

We are talking about hte land of NOKIA here ???

And Tallin is not in the "pricey" part of europe ... yet.

And by the way ...

Denmark-Sweden is already connected by Oresund (16km) ... a second connection at Helsingbord would be less than 4km long

Denmark-Germany is 18km

Why should the fins not want to connect directly without exiting EU shengen space ???

Helsinki-Tallin is only some 40km long

Helsinki-Stockolm is some 400km long ... of wich 200km are missing but are easily breachable ... just need to build enough bridges/tunnels between torku , the intermediate islands and Sweden < major gap is only 26km long (36km if we consider a tunnel solution)

On the other way ... given a 350km/h HST and a 80km crossing in the conditions of the Channel tunnel ... it would ber better to think about a V HST network Helsinki-S.Peters-Tallin ... same goes for ferry freight
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