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Russian President discusses Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway construction

August 01, 2013, 10:01 UTC+3

The Kremlin approved the idea of creating a first Russia high-speed railway between Moscow and the capital of Tatarstan

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Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed at a meeting over the development of the express train traffic on Wednesday a large-scale construction project of a Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway costing about one trillion rubles. He left open the possibility that the railway may be extended to Krasnoyarsk in the future.

Vladimir Putin called to determine an operator of the Moscow-Kazan railway project and settle the issues of attracting private investments, the Vechernyaya Moskva daily reported. Speaking at a meeting over the development of the express train traffic the President recalled that the settlement of vital infrastructure problems, particularly some part of resources from the National Welfare Fund will be allocated for the creation of the Moscow-Kazan railway. Meanwhile, the total cost of the construction of this high-speed railway line stretching at 803 kilometers is estimated at 928 billion rubles.

The Kremlin approved the idea of creating a first Russia high-speed railway between Moscow and the capital of Tatarstan, the Izvestia daily reported. The construction of the railway should be launched already next year. First trains on the high-speed track will start running in 2018 by a FIFA World Cup in Russia. At a meeting chaired by Vladimir Putin the main parameters of the railway line were discussed. The President instructed to calculate all the risks and avert swindling with the land so that crafty people will not buy up the land in the area of building a high-speed track for its further resale to the Russian state at a much higher price.

Russia does not have high-speed railway lines yet, the newspaper noted. Even the express trains Sapsan running between St. Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod are considered just as express trains. A new high-speed track will cut the time of trip between Moscow and Kazan fourfold from 14 to three and a half hours. The railway route will be running through Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod and Cheboksary.

“The Moscow-Kazan railway line launch is the first step,” Vladimir Putin said. “It can become the first railway line, which will connect the central district with the Volga River Region and the Urals,” Putin said. The President did not rule out that the railway line may be extended to Krasnoyarsk in the future. Yet, the feasibility of this project is not calculated yet.

A planned cost of the railway construction is 937 billion rubles. Meanwhile, the private investors will pay one third of this sum. Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov noted that an independent audit expertise will be conducted to avoid a higher cost of the construction project.

At first high-speed passenger trains will be assembled by foreign partners, the freight trains can already be produced in Russia.

“This is a new project for our country,” Vladimir Putin said, opening the meeting, and unexpectedly proposed to think it over how it is realizable and economically feasible: probably, to build just an express rail route, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. Meanwhile, after the consultations the participants in the meeting decided to build a high-speed railway line, as the costs for the construction are approximately the same, Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov told reporters. “In any case, the project should bring the system of passenger railway shipments at a qualitatively new level,” the President noted.

The biggest question in the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway line is with which monetary resources it will be built, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. The President noted that to find the financial resources for the construction is “a vital task,” and replied the question himself how to settle it. “We agreed that we will allocate some part of the National Welfare Fund for the settlement of key infrastructure problems,” he pointed out. The Finance Ministry confirmed that the Russian state authorities will allocate 150 billion rubles from the National Welfare Fund for the railway construction project. Meanwhile, the total cost of the Moscow-Kazan railway line is estimated at about 928 billion rubles.

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