102 km train tunnel between Tallinn and Helsinki
The capital cities of Estonia and Finland could be linked by the longest railway tunnel so far by 2040. It would link both cities in 30 minutes compared to two hours by ferry today. Cost price for this undersea project: more than 16 billion euro.
The distance between both cities is not greater than the route from Brussels to Liège (90 km) but it almost takes a ten-hour drive. There also is a ferry connection, which makes you cross the Gulf of Finland in two hours. Still too much time, both capital cities think, so they signed an agreement, called FinEstLink, to analyze the feasibility of building a railway tunnel under the Baltic Sea.
Both cities are ambitious to create a functional metropolitan region with the potential of developing new economic activities and creating new employment.
Three tunnel pipes
A first study, which was presented on Wednesday, shows how they will create the longest railway tunnel in the world: 102,3 kilometers, twice as long as the Channel Tunnel (50,5 km) and the Gothard Tunnel (57,1 km). In fact there will be three tunnel pipes, one in each direction for the trains, and a third one in between to service the two others.
The job includes evacuating more than 21 million m3 of soil, partly used to create two artificial islands, serving as bases during the activities and for future evacuation sites in case of emergency.
Ready by 2040
According to estimations of FinEstLink the tunnel would double the capacity of freight transport and multiply passenger traffic by 2,5. It would only take 30 minutes to travel from one side to the other.
The investments for the tunnel project are estimated between 13,8 and 20 billion euro, a budget the promoters of the project hope to collect with a public-private partnership and a 40% contribution of the European Union. If the activities could start by 2025, after six years of technical development, the tunnel could be finished by 2040.