MOSCOW: Russian Railways said the China-backed plan to build a 770-kilometer high-speed railway between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan may proceed section by section over the weekend.
Last week, Russian media reports suggested that Russia might opt to build only one section of the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway first, from Moscow to Vladimir, a city 200 kilometers east of the Russian capital.
Under the current plan, the construction of the Moscow-Vladimir section is proposed to take place under a concession scheme from 2018 to 2023, said Russian Railways, the Russian company behind the project, over the weekend. Vladimir is about 500 kilometers west of Kazan.
The organizational, legal and financial models needed for the construction of the high-speed Moscow-Vladimir section will be submitted to the Russian government after elaboration. And the line will be built as a pilot project of the overall Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway, according to Russian Railways.
The company will allocate a total of 200 billion rubles ($3.48 billion) to the Moscow-Kazan High-Speed Rail Project by 2023, said the statement.
One of the advantages of the new strategy for implementing the project is the lack of any need for a grant from the state, said the company.
Russian Railways is currently preparing an application for a private concession initiative for the construction of the Moscow-Vladimir line and there are also plans to attract funds from Russian and international strategic investors as well as loans from Russian and international banks and international development banks.
At the first stage of the project, high-speed trains will run on new high-speed infrastructure from Moscow to Vladimir, and then along the existing line to Nizhny Novgorod. The journey will take about three hours.
In the future, Russian Railways said, after the completion of the remaining sections of the Moscow-Kazan line, the total journey time from Moscow to Kazan will be 3 hours and 17 minutes without taking into account the stops.
This line will be the first section of the overall High-Speed Railway Eurasia Project, which involves the integration of high-speed rail networks across Europe and China to transport goods and passengers.
Russia will start to build its first high-speed railway linking Moscow and Kazan in 2018, Xinhua News Agency reported in August. The railway will cost about 1.3 trillion rubles in total.
In 2015, a Chinese railway engineering company won a surveying and designing contract under the project.