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Lugtmeijer: Invest in St. Petersburg Rail Line, Not Haapsalu

Arnout Lugtmeijer, head of Estonia's largest transit terminal operator Vopak E.O.S, has said that there is great untapped economic potential between Estonia and Russia, and the state should invest into railway lines heading east, not connections to the likes of Haapsalu, a town of 10,000 in the northwest.

The state is currently weighing investments into three rail lines: Tallinn-St. Petersburg, Tallinn-Haapsalu and the Rail Baltic project. Lugtmeijer told Eesti Päevaleht  that the first would be the most lucrative, as five million Russians live in the St. Petersburg area and many could visit Estonia.

“Of course, a rail line [to St. Petersburg] is in service, but it takes the current operator more than eight hours to make the trip and the carriages are from the 1960s,” said Lugtmeijer, noting that half-a-million people annually travel from St. Petersburg to Finland by rail, while only 38,000 of the area's residents take the train to Tallinn.

“But connecting Haapsalu - is that a priority? With the meager resources at our disposal, we should invest into the projects with more potential,” Lugtmeijer said.


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