LATVIA: EUROPEAN Railway Lines (EDL), the body responsible for implementing the Rail Baltica project in Latvia, has announced an international tender to construct the Rail Baltica station and related infrastructure at Riga International Airport.
The contract, which is worth between €250m and €280m, includes the station, an elevated platform, access roads, embankments, a 6km section of track and an overpass over K Ulmaņa Street.
The qualification requirements to bid for the contract include experience in constructing public buildings, railway tracks, and new roads, to ensure uninterrupted airport operations during the construction of the Rail Baltica infrastructure. An extension of the airport’s passenger terminal and the construction of a new air traffic control tower are also planned alongside the project.
The work at Riga International Airport is planned over six phases. First, the tri-level station building will be constructed, along with the elevated structure and access roads with the related infrastructure. This will be followed by the creation of a wooden building facade, respecting the traditions of wooden architecture in Latvia. The mechanical systems will then be installed, along with interior decoration.
This will be followed by a construction of an elevated section between Riga and Jaunmārupe, which the railway and station will be situated on beside the terminal. An embankment and a 113m-long overpass will also be built over K Ulmaņa Street. The final stage will be the construction of a double-track line, which will carry four Rail Baltica express services a day, supplemented by an airport express operating every 30 minutes connecting the airport and Riga Central Station with a travel time of 8min.
The line will also carry freight services, with a dedicated branch to the airport facilities.
The international tender will take place in two phases, with the first phase covering the selection of candidates, which is expected to be completed by January 2020. The second phase is the submission of proposals followed by negotiations, with the goal of signing a contract at the end of 2020 with construction works to commence in 2021.
As is standard for the full Rail Baltica project, the funding for each stage of works will be released separately, and will be requested from the European Union Connecting Europe Facility (CEF).
The project marks the design and construction of the first new passenger station in Latvia since 1937, along with the first railway overpass and standard-gauge line in the country.
“The Rail Baltica railway connection to Riga Airport is a modern, convenient and environmentally friendly alternative to passenger mobility,” says Latvian transport minister, Mr Tālis Linkaits. “It will expand the airport catchment area to Lithuania and Estonia. This connection is also important for traffic coming into Riga. By setting up a park & ride facility at the airport, residents will reach Riga centre by train in eight minutes.”
“The Rail Baltica station will be the first high-speed rail and air traffic connection hub in the Baltic States,” says European Railway Lines chairman, Mr Kaspars Vingris.
Rail Baltica is a joint venture for the construction of an 870 km mixed-traffic standard-gauge railway with a design speed of 240km/h from the Estonian capital Tallinn, via Riga and Riga Airport in Latvia, and Panevezys and Kaunas in Lithuania, to the Polish border, with a branch from Kaunas to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.