On 22 December in Kiev, Russian Railways (RZD) President Vladimir Yakunin participated in the work of the supervisory council of a joint venture for a project to build a broad-gauge railway. Also involved in the supervisory council’s work were the general director of the State Administration of Railway Transport of Ukraine, Mykhaylo Kostyuk, and representatives of the railways of Slovakia and Austria.
At the end of the meeting it was announced that the procedure has begun for selecting contractors to draw up a feasibility study for the project to build broad-gauge rail lines.
The aim of the project is to link the railway system of Central Europe with regions on the Trans-Siberian route, attract freight to the Asia - Russia - Central Europe route, and to raise the competitiveness of railway transportation compared to sea and road transport.
According to the plans, the broad-gauge track will be extended from Košice (Slovakia) to Vienna (Austria).
“This project embodies our approach to developing cooperation not only in railway transport, but in harmonizing transport rights, and providing deeper integration, including between countries of the CIS and the EU”, Vladimir Yakunin said.
In April 2008 in Vienna, RZD, along with the rail companies of Austria, Slovakia, and Ukraine, signed a protocol on starting the pre-project phase of research into extending the broad-gauge rail network into Central Europe. The sides agreed to study the technical and financing potential for improving the attractiveness of the existing infrastructure, modernizing it, and also building new rail lines, both narrow and broad gauge.
In May 2009 in Sochi, RZD and the rail companies of Austria, Slovakia and Ukraine, signed a resolution of the organizing committee for the project to extend the broad-gauge railway, on starting the work of a joint venture for concluding a feasibility study on the project.