"In fact, the main problem is speed parameters on the Polish side. But I believe that today's step has shown that both countries are interested in solving this issue," Lithuanian Deputy Transport Minister Saulius Girdauskas told reporters at the Kaunas railway station on the evening of August 27.
He spoke after the first train to travel the Rail Baltica route from Poland arrived in Lithuania's second-biggest city.
Among the train's passengers was Catherine Trautmann, the European coordinator for the European standard gauge railway project Rail Baltica, who assessed the Lithuanian and Polish railway infrastructure.
"We should reach the same speed throughout the line. It's one of the problems. The journey was longer on the Polish side and faster of the Lithuanian side. But Rail Baltica is a fast track, so it's a key issue," she said.
Lithuania is also planning to build a Rail Baltica route from Kaunas upward to the border with Latvia. The European Commission has agreed to provide 106 million euros for this purpose, but it has not approved 75.3 million euros for the implementation of signalling systems on the Rail Baltica route from the Polish border to Kaunas. Lithuania expects to secure the funding at the next stage.
Officials say that this means that there is a speed problem on the route between the border with Poland and Kaunas as well.
Domas Jurevičius of the Rail Baltica Project Directorate at Lietuvos Geležinkeliai (Lithuanian Railways) told BNS on Thursday that without the signaling systems, trains cannot travel at maximum speeds of around 120 kilometers per hour on the route.
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