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Transport / Mass transit

The Helsinki to Tallinn tunnel could be operational by 2030

Hey, guys, remember that proposal for a 50km tunnel linking Helsinki to Tallinn? Which would go by the amazing name of Talsinkifix? Remember that? Well, it’s actually happening

Okay, not for another 15 years, and even then possibly not, and basically we just lied. But! It is one step closer. A few weeks ago Swedish consultancy Sweco published the “pre-feasibility” study for the tunnel. And it found that, in not so many words, it’s pre-feasible.

The map from the report’s cover. Informative, no?

Here are some of the report’s key findings:


  • A rail tunnel linking the Estonian and Finnish would see trains running at 250km/h, and cut journey times between the two cities to 30 minutes.

  • It’d serve Finland’s Central and Pasila stations as well as its airport, to properly integrate the new route into the country’s rail network.
  • At the moment, 30,000 people commute weekly or monthly between the two countries. But with a fixed link, as many as 25,000 people could commute between the two every day.
  • Construction would start 2025-2030, and the “preliminary” target for the project’s competition would be 2030-35. (So, realistically, it’ll be later than that.)
  • It’d cost €9-13bn, which is quite a lot. But the EU would probably stump up for some of it, and the income from the tunnel itself would probably be enough to cover running costs.
  • A road tunnel would “not be profitable and is complicated from the technical and operational point of view”. God, as if the petrol heads weren’t have a hard enough time with the Jeremy Clarkson sacking.
  • “When constructing the tunnel, a significant amount of stone material will be generated,” apparently. Digging through rock will do that for you. Anyway, Sweco wants to study turning it into an island.

There are quite a lot of crossings of bits of the Baltics on the table. The Kvarken Bridge from Vaas-Umea and the Turku-Stockholm link remain just ideas, and probably aren’t economical.

But a bill to construct the the Fehmarn Belt Fixed link between Germany and Denkark is currently working its way through the two country’s legislatures. If it passes, construction could begin later this year, and the tunnel could be open as soon as 2024; it’d slash driving times between Copenhagen and Hamburg by more than half, from under five hours to just over two. 

Here’s a video. (H/T: Feargus O’Sullivan over at CityLab.)

The Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo, meanwhile, is now so established that it’s spawned its own crime drama, and there’s talk of a unified commuter rail system for the two cities, too. International rail tunnels are all the rage these days.

Here, courtesy of Sweco, is a faintly confusing map.

 
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