Projects to develop high speed rail transport in Russia were examined at the end of January during a round table discussion on the theme “Enhancing the country’s competitive strength through high speed rail project implementation”.
The round table was attended by political representatives, experts, Russian and foreign companies specialising in the construction of railway machinery, specialist professional organisations and associations as well as representatives of civil society.
Alexander Misharin, First Vice-President of RZD, presented participants with the main features of the Moscow-Kazan pilot project, which has already received the conclusions of the State Evaluation Directorate. The section between Moscow and Kazan will cover 770 km with line speeds of up to 400 km per hour and with stops every 50-70 km. The towns of Samara, Yekaterinburg, Perm, Ufa and Chelyabinsk will be included on the line. The high speed service from Moscow to Kazan will take 3.5 hours and it is estimated that no fewer than 7.5 million passengers will use the service each year.
An independent audit has been conducted on the financing of the Moscow-Kazan line, which has confirmed the amount of capital needed for its construction and the volume of passenger traffic, in accordance with similar global data. The cost assessment of the first section is said to be around 30 billion US dollars. The results of the technical and financial audit will be presented in February.
According to the expert evaluation, the project will contribute greatly to the national GDP and the GRP of the regions covered by the railway line (Moscow, Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod Oblasts, Chuvashia, Mari El and Tatarstan Republics and Moscow).
“Vladimir and Nizhny Novgorod Oblasts will benefit the most, with their GRP growing by 75%. This will happen owing to the development of associated sectors and the agglomerative effect,” Misharin pointed out.
Moreover, the building of the line will create over 370,000 jobs in the various sectors (120,000 of which will be based in the regions covered by the line). During operation, 5,600 new jobs will be created for those directly involved in high speed services and 174,500 in associated industries.
The project is expected to receive an increase in state backing in the forms of subsidies, investment, guarantees, the Russian Pension Fund and the National Wealth Fund.
International experience demonstrates that the majority of successful international projects to build high speed railway lines have had considerable support from the state, both in terms of regulations, management, project leadership and financing.