The planned tunnel linking Helsinki and Tallinn would cost some 16 billion euros to build, according to a report published in Tallinn on Wednesday.
The report was presented at a seminar in Tallinn attended by the Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Rutas, both countries’ transport ministers and the mayors of Tallinn and Helsinki, among others. Their project is separate to the similar proposal led by game industry figure Peter Vesterbacka that would involve private funding and Chinese investors.
By contrast the report funded by a bilateral joint project called FinEstLink looks at a public project and envisages European and national, local and regional government funding.
The proposed tunnel’s track, tunnel and stations would cost between 13.8 billion and 20 billion euros to build, according to the report’s authors. Building would begin in 2025, a year before the scheduled opening of the Rail Baltica high speed rail line linking Warsaw, Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn.
The Tallinn link would have the standard European 1435mm gauge, rather than Finland's 1524mm gauge.
The tunnel would be 215 metres below sea level at its deepest. Each day the report envisages the Helsinki-Tallinn link would have capacity for some 40 passenger trains, 11 car trains, 17 lorry transporters and 3 freight trains.
"From the viewpoint of deeper twin-city integration and regional development there could be major benefits from the tunnel," said FinEst Link Project Director Kari Ruohonen in a press release. "Geographically Finland resembles an island and the tunnel would offer a connection to the Central European rail network."
Tickets for a 30-minute ride under the Baltic would come in at 18 euros each way, according to the report, with a season ticket costing 480 euros per month. The tunnel could, according to the report, increase journeys between Helsinki and Tallinn to some 23 million each year, including ferry passengers as well.