New railway line brings better city rail services to Vilnius
Construction of a second line on the Vilnius Railway Bypass is increasing rail capacity and diverting freight trains away from the busy city centre. This is improving the quality and accessibility of passenger services in the Lithuanian capital and bringing economic and environmental benefits.
Vilnius Railway Bypass is an integral part of the trans-European transport network (the TEN-T programme) connecting the Black Sea with the Baltic Sea through Lithuania, Kaliningrad (Russia), Ukraine and Belarus. The original Vilnius Railway Bypass was however constructed with too high a gradient. As a result, 71 % of rail traffic, both commercial and freight, still had to pass through the city centre.
A major rail investment has addressed this bottleneck with a focus on doubling the existing rail line between Kyviškės and Valčiūnai, including a connection to the Vaidotai freight marshalling yard.
Economic and environmental benefits
The new track allows for the more polluting freight trains to be diverted to the Vilnius Railway Bypass, leaving Vilnius city centre to be left exclusively for the use of passenger railway transport services. This brings economic benefits to both freight and passenger transport in terms of time savings, and also contributes to reducing the level of noise and pollution on the city environment. It is estimated that, following project implementation, time savings for freight trains will be about 28 % and air pollution caused by trains in Vilnius city will be reduced by approximately 20 %.
The infrastructure works that were finished at the end of 2014 saw the construction of 24.5 km of new track, new transport and pedestrian crossings, four new bridges and noise protection works. The project also includes the reconstruction of three railway stations and platform adaptations.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “Construction of the second track on the Vilnius bypass, section Kyviškės-Valčiūnai” is EUR 79 218 567, of which the EU’s Cohesion Fund is contributing EUR 54 815 192 from the Operational Programme “Economic Growth” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. Work falls under the priority axis “Development of trans-European transport networks”.