Rail Baltica – A Train for Europe

  • Mountainfilm

After numerous delays, the inaugural train is finally set to roll on Rail Baltica in 2030. During his journey through the Baltic States, filmmaker Kārlis Lesiņš encounters esteemed professionals and prominent figures in politics – an exploration in search of insights into the causes of the delay, the current status of the project, and its future trajectory.




52 min


Kārlis Lesiņš and Dietrich Duppel


It all began with an idea: a railway line to connect the Baltic States with Central Europe. A prestige project for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, aiming to break free from Moscow’s influence. The EU supports it and has signaled willingness to provide financial assistance. The total cost was projected at seven billion euros, at least that was the plan almost 20 years ago. Today, disillusionment prevails: costs have skyrocketed, Baltic governments are in disagreement, and construction progress has stalled. After numerous delays, the inaugural train is finally set to roll on Rail Baltica in 2030.

During the Soviet era, the military railway route traversing the Baltic states served as a means for Moscow to exert control over its satellite states, rendering it inaccessible for European trains. This is why the idea of Rail Baltica was born two decades ago — a European railway initiative aimed at linking the Baltic States with Central Europe. Deemed a prestigious endeavor for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, these three young republics sought to break free from Moscow’s influence. The EU swiftly lent its support to the project, prioritizing it and indicating its readiness to offer substantial financial backing. Initially estimated at seven billion euros, the project encountered numerous delays, with the inaugural train set to embark on Rail Baltica in 2030, albeit uncertainty shrouding its realization.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the military importance of Rail Baltica for the three NATO states in the Baltic region has become more prominent, serving as a vital pathway for military supplies in times of crisis. Consequently, Putin’s secretive agencies seem to be involved in efforts to undermine the railway’s construction. The Baltic region is taking on an increasingly pivotal geopolitical role within Europe.

Director Kārlis Lesiņš has delved into the project’s background since 2018, uncovering its complexities. “When I started digging deeper, I realized that although this project looks very nice and clean, it actually has a lot of problems,” says the Latvian filmmaker.

Written by
Dietrich Duppel

Directed by
Dietrich Duppel
Kārlis Lesiņš

Assisted by
Inese Braže

Director of Photography
Ivo Skanstiņš
Dino von Wintersdorff
Matthias Bolliger

Anna Brinks

Lisa Friedhofen


Pierre Brand

Colour Grading
Biggi Klier

Stefan Matlik

Voice Actors
Gerhart Hinze
Christian Rudolf
Sandra Kob
Ingo Abel
Robert Warren

Lydia Mutschmann (GBF)
Frank Seidel (MDR)

Nadine Neumann
Florian Tropp
Elīna Gediņa-Ducena

Commissioning Editor
Manuela Hintzsche (MDR)

Executive Producer
Reinhardt Beetz
Gints Grūbe

Rail Baltica – A Train for Europe
  • „Just in diesem Moment überraschen uns die aus dem Theaterbereich stammenden jungen Regisseure Hans Block und Moritz Riesewieck mit einem erstaunlichen Dokumentarfilm, der seit Monaten Publikum und Kritik auf den wichtigsten Festivals der Welt elektrisiert. Völlig zu Recht: Es ist, als würden einem die Scheuklappen weggerissen, als sähe man das, was sich seit Jahren direkt vor unseren Augen abspielt, zum ersten Mal unverschleiert... eine fesselnde ,Doku noir' mit höchstem Anspruch...Dieser Film müsste an allen Schulen gezeigt werden.“
    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

A production by

  • Beetz
  • mistrus
  • allfilm
  • staron film

In co-production with

  • mdr

In collaboration with

  • arte

Supported by

  • NFCL
  • EFI
  • PFI
  • CEE