April 25, 2013

Design "could begin this year" on Russian HS line

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RUSSIAN Railways (RZD) says design work could begin by the end of this year on the 790km Moscow – Kazan section of the proposed 1600km Moscow – Yekaterinburg high-speed line.

The project to build Russia's first high-speed line was discussed at a recent meeting of the Public Council on the Development of High-Speed Rail in the Russian Federation, a consultative and advisory body formed in April 2012 to oversee the development of the high-speed network. During the meeting the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Mr Alexander Zhukov and RZD president Mr Vladimir Yakunin were elected co-chairs of the board.

Participants at the meeting recommended that the design phase of the Moscow – Kazan project should begin by the end of the year. RZD says funding could come from a range of sources, including the federal budget, RZD, pension funds, the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the National Welfare Fund, and infrastructure bonds.

At the meeting RZD first vice-president Mr Alexander Misharin said domestic suppliers will need to play a key role in the development of high-speed rail in Russia. "It is a mistake to believe that the project can be implemented in a turnkey manner, by importing machinery, materials, and engineering personnel," he said, citing the Ural Locomotives partnership between Siemens and Sinara, which is supplying Lastochka emus to RZD.

In February the Ministry of Transport indicated that construction could begin on the first high-speed line by early next year. The government's recently-published socio-economic plan for the period to 2030 envisages construction starting on the Moscow – St Petersburg line and the first phase of the Moscow – Kazan – Yekaterinburg line in late 2013 or early 2014.

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