The further study of the speed increase of the Karelian railway was commissioned by the North Karelian Provincial Association and the South Karelian Association in March – April 2021. The development measures of the Imatra – Joensuu section were mapped from the perspective of passenger traffic speed increase opportunities. The study utilized the needs assessment for the speed increase of the Imatra – Joensuu track section commissioned by the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency in 2018, in which the implementation options are grouped regionally. However, the needs assessment does not comment on how the implementation of the measures should be promoted. Based on the needs assessment, Proxion formed a clear implementation path aimed at increasing the speed, which defined the phasing of the basic improvement and speed increase, the measures required for each step, the costs, and the effects on the number of trips and travel time.
It is proposed to start the implementation path for speed increase on the sections of track where the longest continuous speed level improvements are achieved:
• Phase 1: Kesälahti – Hammaslahti. The longest almost continuous speed level is 200 km/h.
In addition to speed increase measures, the renovation and renewal of the Syrjäsalmi railway bridge. Cost estimate approx € 71.2 million • Phase 2: Parikkala – Kesälahti. Almost continuous speed level is 200 km/h. Cost estimate approx € 57 million.
• Phase 3: Hammaslahti – Joensuu. The speed level would be about 160–170 km/h. Cost estimate approx € 17.3 million.
• Phase 4: Imatra – Parikkala. The speed level cannot be significantly increased continuously from the current speed of 140 km/h, e.g. due to track geometry. However, small development measures can be taken as well as basic improvement measures. Cost estimate approx € 59.8 million.
The total cost estimate for the implementation path is approx. € 205.3 million, the travel time effect approx. -16 minutes and the travel volume effect up to 210 new trips per day.