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Tallinn – Helsinki Tunnel

Tallinn - Helsinki Tunnel - Discover Estonia

Eleven million travelers a year could benefit from the building of a tunnel connecting Helsinki’s Pasila station to Tallinn’s Ulemiste station.  

This has been a dream for many years and may have a chance to come true by the 2030’s.

Currently different kinds of boats provide the 1 ½ to 2 hour trip.  A railway tunnel under the gulf could make the trip in a ½ hour!  60,000 Estonian commuters who travel on weekends back home could make the trip in a ½ hour and be home each night instead of weekly.

Cargo would also be transported by the trains. Some day shipping businesses may take over the operation of the train system.

On January 5, 2016 a deal was signed to devise alternative traffic options from Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia.  Anne Berner, Helsinki’s Minister of Transport and Communications and Finland’s Pekka Sauri, Deputy Mayor signed the agreement.

The estimated cost of 9 to 13 billion Euros would be a valuable investment, with ticket prices at 36 Euros for a one way ticket.  This would include the train and traffic system.  If they could get at least 40% of the cost from the European Union, a Helsinki’s feasibility study figures the project could be paid for.

To get EU to agree, the European standard would be used in hopes to someday connect to Central Europe and Poland, via the Rail Baltica track.  The Helsinki – Tallinn track is to be 1,435 millimeters wide (the European standard) not the Finland standard of 1,524 millimeters.  

The city of Helsinki’s logistics expert, Ulla Tapanien says the feasibility report estimates the train track would have 3 major expenses.  

Excavation of the tunnel – 3 billion Euros

Safety and technical systems – 2 – 3 billion Euros

Trains and their equipment – 1 billion Euros

Unanticipated expenses – 1 – 3 billion Euros

The next action would be to do a risk analysis of the project.  Funding for the analysis has been applied for by Tallinn, Helsinki, Harju County in Estonia, the Finnish Transport Agency, Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and the regional council of Uusimaa.

A”mole”, boring machine would be used to excavate the tunnel under the Gulf of Finland.  These machines are used instead of blasting and drilling.  The mole’s cutter head cuts fractures into the rock.  The rock breaks away in the front of the mole and is filtered thru openings in the head of the cutter to the conveyor belt that takes the rock out of the tunnel.  This excavation technique was used in the Alps for its railway and for the Channel Tunnel from France and England.

Photo: Sveco
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