The first railway reached Tallinn from St Petersburg in 1870, when Estonia was part of the Russian Empire. It was built to the Russian gauge of 1524mm (now 1520mm).
After the First World War, Estonia became independent, but the Russian gauge was retained. After the Second World War, Estonia again came within the Russian sphere of influence, only regaining its independence on the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
The state retains ownership of the network and of freight operations, while passenger services have been privatised. There are international connections with Latvia for freight, and with Russia for freight and passenger services.
Detail planning and construction is under way on a projected new standard (1435mm) gauge passenger and freight railway railway which will connect Estonia with Latvia, and thence via Lithuania to Poland and to the standard gauge network of western and central Europe. Opening planned around 2026.
A feasibility study has been conducted into the construction of a new undersea rail tunnel connecting the Estonian rail network with that of Finland.
Photo image by Ilkka Siissalo from railpics.club