The government decided to close Pärnu railway from 2019

The last train will leave from Lelle to Pärnu and back on December 31, 2018; rail traffic to Pärnu will be discontinued from January 1 until the completion of Rail Baltic, the government decided at its July 17 session, which discussed the future of railways in Estonia - writes postimees.ee.

The government decided to discontinue procuring public transport on the Lelle-Pärnu railway line from January 1. 2019, because maintaining travel speed on the line over 60 kilometers per hour would require spending approximately 17 million euros on railway renovation. The government does not view spending such sum as reasonable, considering that the construction of Rail Baltic will begin.

The high-speed railway linking the three Baltic states to the rest of Europe is planned to be completed by 2025, while passenger traffic should begin in 2026.

Passenger traffic between Lelle and Pärnu will be organized by bus from 2019, while rail traffic from Lelle to Tallinn and Viljandi will continue. The Lelle railway station will remain open as well.

“There are already efficient bus lines within the Pärnu county”, said Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Kadri Simson. “For example, buses leave from Tootsi railway station to Pärnu eight times per day, but trains only twice. Closing the Lelle-Pärnu line from 2019 will bring along reorganization of local public transport, but I am certain that it can be accomplished in the remaining time.”

The minister added that upon the completion of Rail Baltic Pärnu will obtain excellent rail connection with Tallinn and Riga; therefore the representatives of the local governments recommended using the sum planned for repairing the Lelle-Pärnu railway stretch for renovating the Pärnu airport instead.

“The government decided this spring to make loan and invest a further 135 million euros in more important infrastructure projects, including 40 million in railways. The goal is to increase the speed of trains on the Tallinn-Tartu and Tallinn-Narva railways to 135 kilometers per hour and to complete the first stage of railway to Haapsalu, i.e. the Riisipere-Turba railway”, Simson said.

The Ministry of Economy and Communication will submit the railway action plan to the government in October. Besides the above it should include the reconstruction of the Tallinn-Viljandi railway. This means a thorough reconstruction of the Rapla-Türi stretch in two stages in 2022 and 2024 for 18.5 million euros. After the reconstruction trains should be able to travel from Tallinn to Viljandi in 1.5 hours instead of the present 3.5 hours.

The government generally agreed on Monday that the development of Estonia’s public railways will continue according to the basic scenario: the railway must be at least as good as it is at present and the investments must ensure retaining its throughput capacity. Safety standards on railways must be at least as high as presently; it will be improved within the large-scale infrastructure investments program agreed upon in spring.

Railway network will be broken up

In the opinion of Rain Kaarjas, the head of Edelaraudtee Infrastruktuuri AS, the government’s decision deprives Estonia of a continuous railway network, which links Estonia’s major cities and centers. “Estonia’s railway map will be no longer continuous after the closing of the Lelle-Pärnu stretch”, Kaarjas said. “Large-scale projects may easily become more costly and their completion may be delayed; therefore I cannot predict when the residents of Pärnu county will be able to travel by train again.”

According to Kaarjas, the Tootsi and Pärnu stations will now remain without renovation as well, while the platforms built with the EU support to the Lelle-Pärnu railway will be unused. Construction of Rail Baltic will also become more costly as the materials would have to be carried by road.

Meelis Kukk, deputy mayor of Pärnu, described the government resolution as a blow, since this will deprive the residents of Pärnu and Lelle of railway for six years at least.

“This is a long time. It is very bad news”; Kukk said, adding that there had been a lot of arguing over the infrastructure funding. “I understood that there was an option of the state concluding a long-term agreement with Edelaraudtee and the firm will repair the railway on its own. Apparently there have been discussions meanwhile… I cannot say what this decision is related to.”

“This is bad news”, Pärnu county governor Kalev Kaljuste commented. According to him, the decision could have been expected, since the government had already agreed to support the renovation of the Pärnu airport with 20 million euros. In his words, the travel to Tallinn of the residents along the closed stretch will become an hour longer, since the buses would then travel through Pärnu.

Kaljuste added that Rail Baltic should have local stations. One could be in Tootsi, Northern Pärnu county, the other in Häädemeeste, Southern Pärnu county. “If the state can find money for building railway to Haapsalu, which is financially unviable, it should also find money for local stations of Rail Baltic in Pärnu county.”

Read more news of Tallinn here.

postimees.ee
Pärnu government RailBaltic localstations Tallinn
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Politics
Chairman of the Estonian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and one of the owners of construction group Nordecon, Toomas Luman, finds that a prime ministerial candidate should first and foremost be able to answer the question of what will become of the demographic crisis in Estonia. The businessman sees controlled introduction of foreign labor as the solution. A digital construction cluster was created in Estonia a few years back to bring innovation to the s...
Society
Last year saw 27,125 registered offenses, up 0.5 percent from the year before. Violent crime was up by 12 percent to 8,249 offenses. PHOTO: Dominic Lipinski / PA Wire / Press Association Images / Scanpix Growth was biggest for domestic violence – the police launched criminal proceedings in 3,607 cases that constitutes an increase of more than one-third – annual growth of 37 percent from 2,632 cases in 2017. At the same time, reports of domestic violence we...
Society
TALLINN - Ahead of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, tens of thousands of British citizens have chosen the citizenship of some other country, but only one Brit has recently chosen an Estonian citizenship. Spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior told BNS that only one British citizen submitted an application for Estonian citizenship last year and the applicant was also granted the citizenship. Before that, no Brits had soug...
Society
TALLINN - Experts from Finland, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands highlighted the importance of decentralization and granting local governments greater decision-making powers at a conference titled "Strong local government -- strong state?" in Tallinn on Wednesday.  All Nordic countries have chosen a model granting local governments significant decision-making powers, thus the central government does not prescribe how local governments are to fulfill the...
Society
The language learning application Drops by game developer Planb Labs, established in Estonia by Hungarian founders, was named Google Play's best app of 2018. With the number of downloads surpassing 10 million, Drops was named Google's app of the year as the revenue of Planb Labs, a company registered in Estonia, increased fivefold, CNBC said. The developer's revenue grew from €335,000 in 2017 to €1.7 million in 2018. The company's shareholders include Hung...
Society
TALLINN - The Estonian Health Board has banned the distribution of chlorine dioxide, also marketed as the Miracle Mineral Supplement (MMS), the A-component of an unused product, meaning the sodium chlorite solution, must be taken to a hazardous waste collection facility. Ester Opik, head of the Health Board's North regional department, said that the banning of the distribution of the product was caused by the fact that MMS, distributed as a cosmetics produ...
Society
Nature cannot abide a vacancy, as the saying goes. If just one year ago, Estonia was battling the sale of MMS and the practice of giving it to children, a new “miracle cure” called Advanced TRS has appeared on the market now. Even though the make-up of the substance is different, the promise to cure autism and cleanse the body of heavy metals, which kind of extreme detox is accompanied by severe side-effects, sounds all too familiar. TRS is recommended to...
Society
Allied NATO battalions will soon mark two years serving in the Baltics. They have worked better than expected but would need prepositioned heavy weaponry and a functional contingency plan in case of a crisis, a report by the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS) finds. “We do not know how Russia would have acted had we not welcomed allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in 2017. I’m afraid they would have tested our resolve,” one of...
Society
The time of filing income tax returns is nearly upon us. The new income tax system, in effect since last year, will obligate many women who went on maternity leave toward the end of the year to make additional income tax payments, while those who give birth in the middle or at the beginning of the year have no such obligation. What this means is that some women will owe the state simply for giving birth “at the wrong time”. Laura Roop, who went on maternit...