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Putin demands govt, RZD focus on developing high-speed lines

October 19, 2012, 19:46 UTC+3

Yakunin said financing remains one of the major issues in what concerns the development of high-speed services

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MOSCOW, October 19 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has issued a demand to the cabinet of ministers and the state railway corporation RZD to draw up a clear-cut plan for developing high-speed railway communications in Russia, to specify priorities in this area and to begin practical work.

“It’s important for us, for society and for the whole country to have a clear realization right in front of our eyes as regards what will be done, who will do it, how fast this will be done, and naturally who the contractor will be,” Putin said.

“Implementation of the Sapsan project /high-speed service linking St Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga – Itar-Tass/ showed that we can really do it and that’s why it’s important for us to concentrate efforts and to mobilize resources for this purpose,” he said.

Along with this, he demanded that the RZD simulate the impact the high-speed service development project will exert on people living in different parts of the country.

Putin disagreed with RZD President Vladimir Yakunin, who quoted MPs from the city of Vladimir /located some 200 km to the east of Moscow, halfway between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod – Itar-Tass/ that life had taken on a new quality after launch of the high-speed Sapsan trains.

“Life turned out to be different for the people of different categories,” he said. “Take those who used suburban train services previously. The suburban trains have been slashed because of the Sapsan, and these people’s lives haven’t become any better.”

“That’s why it’s important to think about different categories of passengers in advance,” Putin said.

Yakunin recalled in this connection that one of the projects, the high-speed service between Moscow and St Petersburg, has already been implemented.

“I really love both Moscow and St Petersburg but we need other cities, too,” Putin answered.

Yakunin said to this the RZD is pondering high-speed services at the Moscow-Nizhny Novrogord-Kazan-Yekaterinburg, Moscow-Yaroslavl, and Moscow-Sochi lines, with the trains cruising at speeds of up to 200 km p hr there. The project is to be launched in connection with preparations for the World Cup football championship, which Russia will host in 2018.

Yakunin also said financing remains one of the major issues in what concerns the development of high-speed services. In addition to this, he said it is important to decide correctly on where high-speed services should be introduced and where regular services at lower speeds are sufficient.

“We must prioritize things so that we could see what we need to do in the first turn,” Putin said. “This should be done by the Transport Ministry, other departments of the government and the RZD.”

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