The FinEst Link project is a feasibility study, conducted between 2016 and 2018 to explore development needs in transport networks between Helsinki and Tallinn in a long-term perspective. The project involved a comprehensive assessment on how the existing fast ferry services and connections between the two cities and the local twin-city commuting systems can be improved. Overall, the project focuses in wider Finnish-Estonian perspective, European TEN-T perspective, transport technology development, environmental aspects and in changing socio-economic context of the emerging twin-city region.
This project received co-funding from the EU’s Interreg Central Baltic programme and a total of €1 027 537 euros under the ERDF funds.
“FinEst Link” is based on trilateral cross-border cooperation among six partner organizations from Finland and Estonia: Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council (lead partner), City of Helsinki, Finnish Transport Agency, Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, City of Tallinn and Union of Harju County Municipalities. This project brought together representatives of cities responsible of transport nodes, regions responsible of regional spatial planning, and the state authorities responsible of national transport policy development and representing national interests towards TEN-T policies.
The project analysed how the existing fast ferry services and connections could serve the increasing traffic volumes between the ports of Helsinki and Tallinn. The project carried out a feasibility study, which analysed from an economic and technical standpoint whether there are grounds for visioning a sub-sea railway tunnel for passenger and cargo traffic between the two cities.
The “FinEst Link” project assessed possibilities for achieving better integration in the multimodal cross-border transport systems with significant impact on lowering the CO2 emissions while safeguarding its economic viability. It will also explored alternative ways of developing safe transport operations and sustainable physical infrastructures in the era of digitalization of mobility, e.g. new technology developers presented their ideas and solutions on this at the Tallinn final conference.
The railway tunnel would enable mobility of workers, freight transport and tourists as well as investments and business between the two capitals, creating regional economic benefits to both countries.
Major reservations about this project, concern the future economic environment, including uncertainty of maintenance and operating costs, as well as regional policies and strategies and the behaviour of the potential users of the link.
The analysis of the economic impacts of FinEst Link included a cost-benefit analysis and an analysis of wider economic impacts. Key-components indicated by the cost-benefit analysis, are the travel time reduction travel (time ca. 30 min), improvement in supply conditions (passenger trains with frequency of 20 min in peak hours), along with a likely reduction in the fares revenues from the travelers e.g.30-day card revenues from 480 euros down to 240 euros. The analysis of the wider economic impacts focuses on the overall impetus that a new transport connection has on the economy and regional development on agglomeration, labour mobility, productivity and land use. When considering these, the railway tunnel would benefit remarkably businesses, trade, investments and culture related to the Helsinki-Tallinn twin-city development.
Click here to see the FinEst Link brochure.