Work starts on electrification of the railway line between Naujoji Vilnia and Belarus

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A project to electrify the railway line between Naujoji Vilnia, Kyviškės, Kena and the national border with Belarus is gaining speed. Following the completion of one of the design stages, FIMA began construction work on the line and on the traction substation in Naujoji Vilnia. The work is scheduled to be completed next spring. This strategically critical project will help Lithuania and Belarus to strengthen their bilateral relations and will make railway transport more attractive for both passengers and freight as well as reducing environmental pollution.

In less than a year, FIMA’s professionals will lay about 138 km of copper contact lines and more than 165 km of bronze load-bearing cables, will install more than 2,000 metal structures and pour more than 3,000 tons of concrete. The first stage involved laying foundations for the pylons supporting the overhead contact lines and the traction substation in Naujoji Vilnia was rebuilt. FIMA’s specialists will equip the upgraded traction substation with new hardware which will mean that cargo will be hauled by electric freight locomotives.

According to the director of FIMA’s Project Implementation Department, Artūras Šuliauskas, the project is to be completed within a very tight time frame. Furthermore, sophisticated electrification tasks cannot interfere with rail traffic and will have to be aligned with train timetables. It means that the project will demand particular attention to detail and accuracy from the start with any potential disruption being foreseen and removed or minimised in the design phase.

FIMA bought special equipment for laying the contact lines before the start of construction work. The construction technology will ensure that one of the railway tracks is always kept open.

The new contact line system will allow trains to run at 160 km per hour on the electrified line. The electrification of the section between Naujoji Vilnia and the Lithuanian border with Belarus is the first phase of the project to electrify the entire line between Kena and Klaipėda. Future plans are to electrify the entire section of the IX international transport corridor in Lithuania between Klaipėda and Belarus. Existing diesel locomotives will be gradually replaced with electric ones which are more environmentally friendly as well as faster and more powerful and will make rail travel in Lithuania more appealing for passengers, improving convenience and reducing travel times.

The project – “Electrification of the IX corridor. Phase I” – is part of a cross-border plan to electrify the Lithuanian and Belarus railway line between Naujoji Vilnia, Kena, the national border, Gudogai and Maladzyechna, which is being implemented in Lithuania. The project is run in co-operation and co-ordination with representatives of Belarus’ railways and is co-financed from the funds of the 2014-2020 EU programming period.