An ambitious project to build the world’s longest undersea rail tunnel has secured a £12.9bn private investment from Chinese backers.
China-owned investment firm Touchstone Capital Partners has out forward the money to build a rail tunnel between Helsinki, Finland and Tallinn, Estonia.
The rail line and tunnel will connect the Helsinki-Vantaa airport and the Tallinn airport. The 100km tunnel will also connect to an artificial island, shaped like flower petals called “The Island” which will be constructed 15km off the coast of the Finnish capital.
The project developer, FinEstBayArea, has said the tunnel will be 17m in diameter to allow for future transport developments, including a potential hyperloop service.
The cost of the tunnel had previously been estimated at €20bn (£17bn).
FinEstBayArea’s “The Island”
The aim of the project is to cut the commute time between the cities from two hours to just 20 minutes. Many Estonians travel to the Finnish capital for work, while the Estonian capital is popular with Finnish holiday makers.
Estonia economic affairs & infrastructure secretary Kadri Simson previously said the project should consider adding an additional stop for Tallinn’s city centre.
“The project for sure is intriguing, but we can still see several loose ends in it regarding which questions of course remain,” he said. “For instance, it’s important for us that in addition to the location of the stop at Tallinn Ulemiste an additional stop in Tallinn’s city centre should be weighed as an alternative.”
A joint feasibility study by Finnish and Estonian governments estimated the project could be completed, but not before 2040. However, project leader Peter Vesterbacka has said that the rail line could be operational as soon as December 2024.
Construction on the project has yet to begin, but return tickets and annual-season tickets are already available for purchase at €100 (£85) and €1,000 (£850) respectively.
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