Rail Baltica transport project, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia
Rail Baltica is one of the largest rail infrastructure projects in Europe. It will connect Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to the Central European rail network via an 870 km, double-track high-speed line with a track gauge of 1,435 mm. The aim is to increase passenger and freight transport between the participating countries and between Central and Northern Europe, spurring development of the economic corridor in northeastern Europe.
Rail Baltica: large-scale global project
DB Engineering & Consulting (DB E&C) has been involved in this project since the business plan was drafted in 2017, and since that time has also been awarded several design contracts.
The electrification of the 870 km, double-track high-speed line is the world’s largest electrification project, to be and will be awarded as a single lot across three national borders: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The route will be designed for speeds up to 249 km/h and supplied with 25 kV alternating current (AC) from two overhead line systems. Traction power will be supplied by static frequency converters (SFC). To optimize design, the route is divided into eleven sections and includes:
- Seven international stations
- Three multimodal terminals and multiple airports and seaports
- Regional and local stations
- Maintenance depots
- Interfaces with the existing broad gauge network
DB E&C GmbH and its partners IDOM Consulting, Engineering, Architecture, S.A.U. (Spain) and Italferr S.p.A. (Italy) have been hired as ENE engineer for the project to electrify Rail Baltica. Our experts will provide a wide range of consulting and engineering services, including FIDIC engineering services, and will be responsible for the overall management of electrification in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.
The project is divided into two phases:
- Preparation phase (phase I)
- Construction and warranty phase (phase II)
The preparation phase (phase I) of the electrification project includes:
- Traction current simulations
- Concept design for electrification (overhead line, traction power supply and energy control command system)
- Development of an electrification implementation strategy
- Participation and support of RB Rail AS in the contract award process
A continuous 71 km section in Latvia, from Vangazi to Misa via Salaspils, is being designed by a consortium comprising DB Engineering & Consulting, the French company Egis Rail and the Latvian company Olimps.
The biggest challenge was to meet the requirement stipulated by the project company RB Rail AS to cover the entire cycle of the BIM process from level 3D to level 6D. Project-specific BIM guidelines based on international standards were developed. Construction drawings will cover the following for the Vangazi-Misa section:
- Structural engineering design
- 29 rail bridges and viaducts
- 15 overpasses
- 4 wildlife crossings
- Designing transport infrastructure (roads and track systems)
- Redesigning high-voltage lines
- Redesigning high-pressure gas pipelines
- BIM planning
- BIM models
- 4D BIM: construction sequencing
- 5D BIM: quantity extractions
- 6D BIM: maintenance and operations phase
- Visualization of models
Together with French partners Egis Rail and Egis Bâtiments, DB Engineering & Consulting took over BIM planning and construction supervision for the modernization of the main station in Riga. DB Engineering & Consulting team and its partners were responsible for renewing all existing trackage, platforms and buildings. The aim is for Riga Central Station to become a multimodal transport hub in line with the growing requirements of the Rail Baltica connection.
In 2022 DB Engineering & Consulting, together with International Directorate RENFE-Operadora Entidad Pública Empresarial and Ingeniería y Economía del Transporte S.M.E M.P. S.A (INECO) was awarded the contract to provide services as a shadow operator until the end of 2028. It will support Rail Baltica with its expertise during the design and construction phase and the start of regular operations. The team will provide all necessary consulting services to assist the project in the following areas:
- Corporate strategy
- Marketing and financial planning
- Provision of services
The shadow operator role will be based on a multidisciplinary, integrated approach that accounts for interactions between the different disciplines. The approach is intended to encompass the entire rail system and cover all institutional, regulatory, technical, operational, infrastructure and commercial functions of the rail system to ensure that Rail Baltica is efficient, competitive and transparent.
The Rail Baltica high-speed line crosses the Daugava River near Salaspils (20 km from Riga). The river is 1,000 m wide at this point. The A4 highway runs parallel to the Rail Baltica high-speed line, and in the near future, it will be extended across the Daugava.
The option to combine the two infrastructures in order to take advantage of synergies in the construction process and to optimize costs had been under consideration since 2018. The rail line will run on the lower level, about 12 meters above the water, and the highway, which will have two lanes in each direction, will run along the upper deck, 22 meters above the river. The bridge will have a total of eight bridge spans, each 150 m long.
Based on a feasibility study by DB Engineering & Consulting, the Latvian Ministry of Transport decided in December 2020 to combine the Rail Baltica bridge with the extension of the A4 highway.
This impressive bridge, which will serve as a landmark, will be one of the most complex engineering structures in the Baltic region and on Rail Baltica. There are only four other bridges in the world that combine a high-speed rail line and highway. DB Engineering & Consulting is responsible for the following tasks within this subproject:
- Concept planning
- Geological investigations in the river bed
- Final design
- Construction drawings
- BIM-5D planning
- Project and stakeholder management
The Estonian Port of Muuga will be accessible by sea, road and rail in the future. The trimodal terminal will ensure a connection to the Rail Baltica rail link. The terminal will integrate both railroad gauges, 1435 and 1520, and accommodate increasing transport volume. DB Engineering & Consulting was responsible for analyzing the technical and spatial requirements of the multimodal terminal. The scope of services included identification of terminal functions and technical specifications, development of the technical layout and site evaluation.
Scope of services in the Baltic States
- Development of a business plan with an economic framework as well as long-term business and financial planning perspectives for implementing project and strategy for Rail Baltica
- Project management and construction drawings for a combined rail/road bridge over the Daugava River near Riga
- Project management and construction drawings for the Vangazi-Misa section (BIM methodology )
- Infrastructure development plan for the Rail Baltica planning section between Kaunas and Vilnius
- Infrastructure development plan for the Rail Baltica planning section between Kaunas and the Polish border
- Concept planning for the Salaspils freight terminal
- Analysis of the technical and spatial requirements of the Muuga multimodal terminal (Estonia)
- Planning (BIM methodology) and construction supervision for the modernization of Riga Central Station with the French partners Egis Rail and Egis Bâtiments
- Electrification of Rail Baltica together with IDOM Consulting, Engineering, Architecture, S.A.U. and Italferr S.p.A.
- Consulting services as a shadow operator during the planning and construction phase and after the start of regular operations