FINNISH infrastructure authority RHK has decided to undertake the upgrading of its eastern main line from Lahti to the Russian border at Vainikkala using a public-private partnership.

Work on the 152 km route is due to start in 2007 as part of the Helsinki - St Petersburg high speed project, which will progressively cut journey times from 5h 15min today to 3h by 2011.

RHK plans to award a 15-year concession to a private company to undertake the track and signalling improvements and eliminate all level crossings on the route. The work will be mainly funded by the government and overseen by RHK’s own staff.