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“We realize that the time is not quite favorable but it has no impact on our partners’ strategic plans,” he said specifying that at present “the project is in progress, in the stage of practical design.”
The Russian rail track is wider than the standard gauge in Europe: its width is 1,520 millimeters (1.52 meters) against Europe's 1,435 mm (1.435 m). At the beginning of the railroad age in the 19th century, Russia was one of the first countries to introduce a unified gauge standard.
A broader rail track was not chosen by accident then but for defense reasons. It was deemed to prevent the enemy’s invasion with the use of Russian railways. During World War II Nazi Germany had a headache trying to provide supplies for its army that invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.
Along with the security reasons essential for that time in history, the broad Russian gauge was more preferential than a standard one as it ensured better stability and higher tonnage capacity.
Now the break-of-gauge between the Russian broad-gauge system and the European standard gauge require that the through passenger cars have their bogies changed and that cargoes in freight trains be transshipped.