Rail Baltica AS has signed an agreement with a joint venture consisting of DB Engineering & Consulting GmbH, RENFE-Operadora, and Ingeniería y Economía del Transporte to provide shadow operator services for the Rail Baltica high-speed line. The contract for the provision of shadow operator services has a value of EUR 8 million and will be valid for the next six years with the option to prolong the services until the Rail Baltica corridor becomes fully operational.
Rail Baltica is the most important high-speed rail project in Europe, with an investment of approximately €5.8 billion, co-financed by the European Union. The line, which will connect the capitals of Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia by high-speed train from 2026, will be 870 kilometres long and will provide passenger and freight services.
Shadow Operator services include railway engineering advisory services, providing third-party independent assessment regarding the development of railway operation and maintenance for Rail Baltica, and proposing recommendations for organizational, operational, and commercial models of railway infrastructure and facilities.
“This is a significant and strategic step towards ensuring Rail Baltica future operations according to the highest safety and interoperability standards. While work on defining the future infrastructure model is in the progress and final decisions still to be taken, outcomes of the Shadow Operator services will bring an optimal railway operation and maintenance model along with tailored Rail Baltica operational concept, various technical strategies, plans and work procedures to meet future infrastructure management, train operation and users’ needs,” said Marc-Philippe el Beze, Chief Technical Officer and Member of the Management Board at RB Rail AS.
For the duration of the contract, the shadow operator is expected to provide advisory recommendations on the design, operation, and maintenance of the high-speed rail infrastructure and rolling stock and will develop models of rail operations and maintenance of the required facilities. It will also provide an analysis of transport demand and will update the railway's operational plan in order to maximize the benefits of the Rail Baltica project.
“We are convinced that Rail Baltica is one of the most important and strategically relevant infrastructure projects in Europe, aimed at fostering cohesion and connection between the Baltics and the neighbouring countries of the European Union,” commented Burhan Erkan, Executive Director, Baltic States, DB Engineering & Consulting. “The nature of the Shadow Operation is to oversee the requirements of the Rail Baltica users’ from all three Baltic States and beyond, and to provide solutions from the operator’s perspective.”