Sunday 18 August 2019

Hitting the buffers: Estonia puts brakes on world's longest undersea rail tunnel

March. Bloomberg Concept: An artist’s rendering of the proposed train tunnel from FinEst Bay Area
March. Bloomberg Concept: An artist’s rendering of the proposed train tunnel from FinEst Bay Area

Ott Ummelas

A plan to build the world's longest undersea rail tunnel has hit its first snag.

Financing of €15bn was agreed this year for the tunnel to link Finland and Estonia. But the Baltic nation of 1.3 million people wants more details on that funding, the business plan behind the idea and Finland's role, before giving the green light. "We need a clear understanding of where the money is coming from and in what amount," Estonian economy minister Taavi Aas said. "Where are the guarantees that it will be completed? The developer hasn't been able to respond to how it's estimated the volume of people that will be travelling through there."

The tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn would span more than 100km and entail construction of at least one artificial island. The project was founded by Finnish entrepreneur Peter Vesterbacka, formerly of Rovio Entertainment Oyj, which developed the 'Angry Birds' video game.

The financing, to be provided by China's Touchstone Capital Partners Ltd, will cover the entire cost of the project, the tunnel company Finest Bay Area Development said in March.

Bloomberg

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