A train ride from Vilnius to Tallinn will take four hours once Rail Baltica is completed in five years, according to a Lithuanian official.
The big infrastructure project will link that Baltic states as well as Finland and Poland with a European-gauge railway running from Helsinki to Warsaw.
“I do believe that [...] once Rail Baltica is built, we'll be able to reach Tallinn from Vilnius in less than four hours,” Deputy Transport Minister Loreta Maskaliovienė told reporters in Kaunas.
She was speaking after two trains, one from Lisbon and the other from Tallinn, met at Kaunas Railway Station on Wednesday to mark the integration of European and Baltic railways following the completion of Rail Baltica.
The European Commission's Connecting Europe Express train arrived in Kaunas from Lisbon via Warsaw. The special Baltic express train came to Lithuania's second city after a ten-hour trip from Tallinn via Riga and Vilnius.
Lithuania's ambition remains to complete Rail Baltica in 2026 and to connect it to the Polish line in 2027, according to the vice-minister.
Regular services from Warsaw to Vilnius are expected to be launched as early as next year.
Due to high expectations from the public, officials are looking for solutions to launch services between the Baltic states even before Rail Baltica is competed, said Mantas Bartuška, CEO of Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways, LTG). He gave no exact dates, however.