The UK and France share the Channel Tunnel, aiding the daily movement of cargo, passenger vehicles and persons from the island to continental Europe. Fairly straightforward right? Trains run under the same stretch of water, again fairly straightforward? Sure. So what about a 92km (57.2 miles) trek underwater as a way of moving from A to B?
Well this is exactly what the Finnish and Estonian ministers have in mind (having signed a memorandum of understanding; thus leading to a cooperative research initiative between the two nations to better understand the pro's and cons of the said project) to bring both Helsinki and Tallinn much closer, opening easier access and decreasing time spent on the water travelling between the two cities; or for the bolder driver travelling via Russia.
Of course the tunnels in question could bring long-term economic prospects to both nations, not to mention the potential for a Guinness World Record as the 'longest underwater railway tunnel', so here's hoping that at no point during the transition between the planning and constructing stages that no 'steam' is lost.
Naturally enabling a more-direct service would give cargo greater ease of access to pass through the two nations and to the designated final destinations. In addition the proposed railway will link up to another rail line which as the diagram shows will connect the Baltic nations, Poland and Germany together, thus enabling as said greater ease of access for cargo to travel across Europe in this case.
According to Railway Technology, the proposed 'trains could reach speeds of 250km/h, significantly cutting the commuting time from the current two and a half hours by ferry down to only 30 minutes per journey.' (http://www.railway-technology.com/features/featurehelsinki-tallinn-rail-tunnel-a-future-european-link-4827400/), so this asks the question, how could this help the lives of the Finnish and Estonian peoples, in particular musicians?
Well for those touring and gigging, not only would it bring the possibility of next-day gigs happening off the cuff but also because the estimated travel time is only 30 minutes, then bands and musicians would not have a long wait ahead to catch the ferry or take the unconventional trip through Russia.
Furthermore this would help the fans reach either country to see the bands they want to see play more easily, instead of leaving to get to a gig over three hours prior to it starting. Plus if they plan to adopt the same style of transport used in the Channel Tunnel, then bands touring from outside of and across Europe on coaches would certainly feel the benefits through cost, time and as said twice previously ease of access.
Granted this venture is set to make its first proper steps between 2025 and 2030, but let's face it, technology is advancing at such a rate that by the time this connection is made, continental underwater railways might be a vision in-sight, could you imagine Europe connecting with Africa?
The Helsinki-Tallinn Tunnel will be built into the public transport systems in both countries with
Finland's Central Railway station and Helsinki airport and Estonia's traffic network at Ülemiste receiving the revolutionary transportation links. Of course it will be an expensive venture clocking up at around 9-13 billion euros (between £7-£10 billion), but with travel journeys estimated to take 30-40 minutes, that is a decent investment if you think about it.
But this there any more benefits to musicians aside from just quicker travelling and simpler logistics? Well OK say there was a delay in movement, or the train stopped, those with guitars could easily strum a note or two and thus give passengers an insight into their music. Of course music equipment would be easier to ship, thus potentially reducing shipping and handling fees. It avoids having to go into Russia and consequently needing a Visa due to the Schengen Area covering most of Europe except the UK, Russia, Ireland, South-Eastern and parts of Eastern Europe.
It also would help not only musicians, but people in general travel without the worry of the weater outside that otherwise could cancel ferries as it would be underground.
Whatever the future holds for this ingenious project, here's hoping it comes into fruition, helps musicians and the peoples of Finland and Estonia in genera, but on a greater scale bring together both countries' remarkable metal music scenes and nations respectively.
There is a whole host of socio-economic and cultural benefits and drawbacks stated on:- http://www.railway-technology.com/features/featurehelsinki-tallinn-rail-tunnel-a-future-european-link-4827400/
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