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Urmas Klaas: The matter of a railway connection between Tartu and Riga must be on the desks of both the Estonian and Latvian governments

Tartu City Government Press Release

Grupipilt raudteejaamas

21 September / On 21 September, the Connecting Europe Express train – part of the European Year of Rail initiative – stopped at the Tartu railway station, drawing attention, among other things, to the need for a railway connection between Tartu and Riga.

At his meeting with the transport ministers of the Baltic Republics, Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas raised the need for a railway connection between Tartu and Riga. ‘The need exists to establish a regular passenger train connection between the two cities.

Transport connections in the direction of Tallinn will improve greatly by 2024: travel time between Tartu and Tallinn will be 81 minutes and new trains will begin travelling along the electrified railway. At the same time, a real opportunity will arise to establish a railway connection between Tartu and Riga, but this will require close cooperation between the governments of Estonia and Latvia. According to Kaido Zimmermann, Director General of AS Eesti Raudtee, it would be realistic to establish this connection in 2024, at the latest,’ the mayor added. According to Urmas Klaas, the process of harmonising Latvian and Estonian train schedules should begin immediately.

Convenient access to Tartu and South Estonia will become especially relevant in 2024, because Tartu, together with 19 rural municipalities in South Estonia, will hold the title of European Capital of Culture. ‘Being the European Capital of Culture will bring a lot of people to Tartu, and therefore it is necessary to work in the name of ensuring that Tartu and South Estonia are connected to the world by fast and safe air, highway and rail transport,’ said Klaas.

The European train brought representatives from the railway industry of the Baltic Republics and the European Commission to Tartu, led by Henrik Hololei, Director-General for Mobility and Transport, and the Ministers of Transport of the three Baltic Republics. Mayor Urmas Klaas, Deputy Mayor Raimond Tamm, Tartu 2024 Head of Communication and Marketing Kalle Paas and Erik Puura, Vice Rector for Development at the University of Tartu, greeted the guests and gave presentations introducing Tartu.

After stopping in Tartu, the European train headed for Valka, from where it will head towards Latvia and Lithuania. Dedicated to the European Year of Rail, the Connecting Europe Express train’s journey through 26 countries started in Lisbon, in early September.

Last changed 21.09.2021