Monday 3 October 2011
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Russia: On 1 October, Russian Railways commemorated its 8th anniversary

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Russian Railways was established on 1 October 2003 under Russian Federal Law № 585, "On the establishment of the joint-stock company Russian Railways”, dated 18 September 2003. The company was founded in accordance with a program that was designed to introduce needed structural reforms to rail transportation. The Russian government owns 100% of its shares.

Over the past eight years, Russian Railways has been actively pursuing productive work in different spheres.

Freight services:

During this time-frame, Russian Railways has increased its pace of work in the field of freight transportation. Since its inception, it has shipped over 11.5 billion tons of freight. These included coal (2.6 billion tons), oil products (2.1 billion tons), building materials (2.4 billion tons), various ores (1.8 million tons), ferrous metals (743.6 million tons), timber (more than 555 million tons) and a range of other goods. At the same time, 3.1 billion tons of freight were exported.

The share of rail transport in the total freight traffic of the country increased from 39% in 2003 to 43.2% in the first 8 months of 2011 (including pipelines). Also, as a result of various reforms, there has been a significant increase in the share of privately-owned freight cars in the freight transportation network. In 2003, privately-owned rolling stock accounted for 16.1% of railway transport turnover, while in the first 8 months of 2011 its share had risen to 54.7%. Russian Railways’ own freight cars (excluding subsidiaries) provide only 5% of the total freight transport turnover.

Passenger services:

In the past eight years, the company has been responsible for the transportation of over 9.7 billion passengers. These include one billion long-distance rail passengers and 8.7 billion commuter rail passengers. Since October, 2003, passenger turnover has totaled over 1.2 trillion passenger-kilometers.

Since 1 April, 2010, all long-distance passenger transportation has been conducted via Federal Passenger Company (FPC), a subsidiary of Russian Railways. Since FPC started doing business, the volume of passenger traffic conducted by its long-distance trains has exceeded 170.6 billion passenger-kilometers.

Commuter rail services:

In 2011, all commuter rail companies are being brought under federal government control together with Russian Railways as a result of structural reforms in railway transport. There are 26 commuter rail companies in total.

Their work is bringing several benefits:

  • An increase in the number of traffic fee categories for passengers
  • An increase the number of people using suburban trains
  • Growth in revenues from passenger transportation

High speed rail:

On 17 December, 2009, Russian Railways introduced the Sapsan (Peregrine Falcoln), a train which offers high speed rail service, on the route between Moscow and St. Petersburg. In July 2010, Sapsan high-speed rail service commenced on the Moscow to Nizhny Novgorod route. Since it started operations, the Sapsan has made more than seven thousand trips and carried more than 4 million passengers.


  • The company’s investment costs tended to increase from year to year; the cumulative total exceeds 2.9 trillion rubles. Russian Railways’ investment budget in 2011, in inflation-adjusted terms, was 1.5 higher than it had been in 2004.
  • The chief priority of Russian Railways’ investment policy is to develop and upgrade infrastructure, especially in major transit and export-oriented sectors. About 2,500 kilometers of new track were laid, while about 6,400 kilometers were reconstructed and 1,000 kilometers of track were electrified.
  • The share of investment funds which were earmarked for the acquisition and modernization of rolling stock totaled over 20%. Since 2003, the railways, when leasing is taken into account, received about two thousand locomotives, more than 5,000 passenger cars, over 90 thousand freight cars, and about 5,000 units of railcar rolling stock.
  • Significant changes have occurred in the use of the investment budget of the company. More attention is being given to addressing the strategic objectives of improving the quality of services provided: these include an increase in passenger and freight delivery speed, safety guarantees, the introduction of new rolling stock, new management techniques, and solutions to macroeconomic problems.

(Source: RZD)

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The SAPSAN high speed train (© RZD)
The Red arrow train “Krasnaya strela” (© RZD)