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June 30, 2010

First funds released for Moscow - St Petersburg HSL

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RUSSIAN Railways (RZD) CEO Mr Vladimir Yakunin has approved the initial tranche of funding for Russia's first high-speed line. The Euros 10 million package will allow feasibility studies to begin on the 660km line from Moscow to St Petersburg, which will have a design speed of 400km/h and will reduce journey times from the 3h 45min achieved by today's Sapsan services to just 2h 30min.

The new line is expected to see 42 trains per direction per day with 14 million passengers per year. RZD says the route is more-or-less defined, although a decision has yet to be made on whether the line will serve airports in Moscow and St Petersburg.

RZD will host an international conference on the €20 billion public-private partnership project at the end of this year and a road show will be organised next year for banks and construction companies. Tendering for the finance-design-build-maintain life-cycle contract will begin in 2012.

RZD has committed funds to the project after Russian President Mr Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree in March which gives RZD the exclusive rights to develop high-speed lines in Russia.

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