The general aim of the Green Railway project was to create a new non-motorized tourism route "Green Railways" for locals, domestic and foreign visitors, using old narrow-gauge railway causeways in South-Estonia and North-Latvia. Altogether the route is ca 716 km long and during the project's lifetime 38 cultural heritage sites were improved and are part of the route. Besides ca 303km restored former railway causeways, the route includes 33km of original parts of narrow gauge railway lines, ca 122 km of re-routing parts, and segments of bicycle route “Tour de LatEst” of 258 km.
The tourism route is available for hiking and cycling either by foot, bike or by other means of light traffic. Also, on skis in the winter season. In South-Estonia, the route passes Ikla, Kilingi-Nõmme, Mõisaküla, Viljandi, Mõniste, Valga moves smoothly to North-Latvia passing Valka, Ape, Aluksne-Gulbene, Ranka, Melturi, Valmiera, Limbazi, Puikule, Ainazi, Aloja, Mazsalaca, and Rujiena. Moreover, in Latvia, the route is added to the existing and working narrow gauged railway between Aluksne and Gulbene.
Activities that helped to reach and promote the result:
The project has been awarded the label of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018 and the label is being used in events and communications throughout 2018.
The project got the 1st Prize for Excellence at the 9th European Greenways Award in 2019.
The project got the prize “Heritage Promoter” from the Estonian Heritage Board.
Developing of the Green Railways route will continue in both Estonia - works on restoring a bridge and creating a trail on the original railway track near Abja-Paluoja and Latvia - implementation and planning of several LEADER projects (e.g. in Kocēni), planning of works on Ape – Alūksne former narrow-gauge railway causeway, Lat-Rus project "Greenways Riga-Pskov" in Latvia and Russia on former railways. Also, cross-border cooperation in the further development of greenways using its own funding between Rūjiena and Mulgi Municipalities is under consideration.
One of the greenways knowledgeable partners in the project was the Latvian Greenways Association, which, following similar initiatives in many Western European countries, where thousands of kilometers of greenways have been developed, facilitates the development of greenways in Latvia and neighboring countries. What are the Greenways? - the definition can be read here.
"Green Railways" route map - ENG, EST, LV