World Bank invited to join Minsk Airport Rail Line project

Direct Rail Line May Link Minsk And National Airport In 2020-2021. Belarus proposes involvement of World Bank in construction of Minsk National Airport rail link.

MINSK: The Belarusian government is inviting the World Bank to take part in a project to build a rail link between the Belarusian capital and Minsk National Airport. The project was discussed during a meeting between Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Kukharev and World Bank Country Manager for Belarus Alex Kremer on 13 November, BelTA has learned.

State agencies have held several meetings, the source said, and came to a consensus regarding the construction of the railway. The meetings followed the May’s announcement made by President Lukashenko at the opening of the second runway at the National Airport Minsk.

Plans to connect the capital and the air hub by train also came up at the meeting between the head of state and Minks mayor in April.

“We would like to discuss our joint work on the project to build a rail link between Minsk and Minsk National Airport. This is a very important project,” Vladimir Kukharev said. The construction of the rail link will provide better connectivity between Minsk and the airport, the deputy prime minister said. Simultaneously, the airport is planning the work to build a terminal and a runway. As it has been reported, several options of the project are on the table: the construction of a new rail line along Vaupshasov Street, the construction of a rail line along M2 Highway towards the airport, reconstruction of the existing rail line which is used for freight traffic.

“They figured out that it was realistic to design and build it within two years — that is, in 2020–2021,” source said. The documentation is being prepared now, and the scheme of the route will go something like this:

According to the plan, the train will leave Minsk by the line for Moscow and then turn into a new 18-km section of the rail. The total investment into the project is estimated 200 million Belarusian rubles (~$98 million), of which 81.4 million rubles will be spent on trains.

Shuttle transfers and a canceled train

The trains from Minsk to the national airport were running from November 2014 to April 2017.

They were diesel trains that had to make a stop at Smolevichi town, located some 40 km away from the capital, because of the peculiarity of the routes. A trip by train thus took 70 minutes, and at the airport, passengers had to change to a shuttle bus.

Trains to Minsk airport were canceled due to the start of construction of the second runway.

At present, the airport is linked to the capital by a bus and mini-bus service.