The endeavor, formally known as Rail Baltiсa, is meant to link Finland, the three Baltic States and Poland with a railway that uses standard, 1,435 mm track gauge, as opposed to the 1,520 mm broad gauge common in the Baltics.
If built, the North Atlantic Alliance will use the new routes to deploy its military equipment to the Baltic region faster. The bloc is currently working on measures that deal with the free movement of NATO forces across Europe.
"Estonia does not make a secret of the fact that the party most interested in the project is NATO," the Vzglyad newspaper asserted.
The new railroad "is meant to create a single [transport] network with Europe," Abzalov, president of the Center for Strategic Communications, told the business daily. But the project, in his view, is not economically feasible.
"They will need to replace their old network to build a new one," he said. "It is a very expensive and unprofitable initiative for Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, especially when it comes to freight trains."
The construction is expected to begin in 2019 and end in 2026. The new railway system will transport 5 million passengers and 16 million tons of cargo.