On Monday President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting on prospects for the development of high-speed railway communication in Russia. The head of the Russian Railways company (RZD) Vladimir Yakunin demonstrated to the president and the government a project on the construction of high-speed railways linking Moscow with Sochi, Kazan and Yekaterinburg.
Although several directions for new high-speed railways are being studied, the Volga region looks one of the most promising variants, Rossiyskaya Gazeta wrote. Putin said this is an industrial region, where many people reside and which needs better communications with the capital. “Even a particular city is mentioned - Kazan,” the president said. There is one more opportunity - to link Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Adler. In case of successful implementation of the project passengers will spend only 8 hours on this trip. However, the second direction will be on seasonal demand, while the route through the Volga region will be much in demand year round.
Yakunin said ticket prices for high-speed trains will range from one to ten roubles per one kilometer depending on carriage classes, Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote. Until 2023 the Russian Railways company plans to build over 4,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines (train speed will reach from 200 to 400 kilometers per hour) and around 7,000 kilometers of new lines with a speed from 140 to 200 kilometers per hour.
Initially, the Moscow-St. Petersburg railway (the project was dubbed as HSR-1) estimated at over 1 trillion roubles was a priority, Kommersant wrote. A feasibility study was prepared, engineering and land surveys were conducted and talks with investors took place. But the project was postponed indefinitely. Elena Sakhnova of VTB Capital noted that railway communication between Moscow and St. Petersburg has already been at a rather good level thanks to high-speed trains Sapsan running between the two cities.
The expert said it was inexpedient to invest 1 trillion roubles into this direction, even taking into account an opportunity to separate passenger and cargo traffic.
“From economic and political considerations it was decided to start from the eastern direction. This section will link three cities, which will host the 2018 FIFA World Cup - Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. In theory, it can be built by 2018, this would be a breakthrough, 70 percent of the project will be financed by the government and 30 percent - by private investors,” the Izvestia daily quoted Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov as saying.
In the future separate high-speed railway sections are expected to be built between Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as between Moscow, Rostov-on-Don and Sochi, the daily wrote. After these high-speed rail lines are launched, a trip from Moscow to Kazan will take just 3.5 hours and from Moscow to Sochi - 7 hours. For the moment Russian trains’ speed remains low, the average speed of a European train is two times higher than that of Russian one.