Skip to main content

$157 BILLION for High Speed Rail in Russia

Think Russia - Russian Railways announced plans recently to build more than 5 trillion rubles ($157 billion) worth of new high-speed rail links between Russia’s major cities, part of a larger push to make travel more convenient and comfortable in the country.

As the world’s largest nation by land mass, and one that historically loves trains, Russia hopes rail development represents the perfect solution to help meet growing demand on the country’s travel infrastructure as it gears up to host international events like the Sochi Olympics and 2018 World Cup.

Under the Strategy for Developing Rail Transport, signed by President Putin in June 2008, the amount of high-speed rail track in Russia will grow almost 17 times over, from the current 650km of track to 10,887km. The new high-speed routes will connect Moscow to St. Petersburg, Sochi and Kazan, with an extension to Yekaterinburg.

Russian Railways says the new trains will significantly reduce passenger journey times, improve journey conditions and comfort, and ultimately boost passenger travel by as much as 30 percent.

Fast passenger-train travel is considered not only the most comfortable and safe form of transport, but also the most environmentally friendly.

Russian Railways stated that the initiative to connect Russia with modern high-speed trains was prompted by rising demand for fast and comfortable travel throughout the country, as well as economic development that has boosted cargo transfers.

In addition to benefits for passengers and cargo operators, Russian Railways claims the initiative will create jobs in manufacturing and spark technological development.

“Building high-speed rail links is a brand new trend for the development of our economy,” Russian Railways Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Yakunin told reporters in Sochi. The company called its work a revolutionary project that will not only make travel more enjoyable, but will also help bring economic development to the regions beyond Moscow.

Russian Railways is approaching the ambitious project with important lessons learned from the implementation of high-speed rail transit throughout Europe, where experts found that high-speed trains require tracks to be in top condition, and also benefit from the latest in automatic, centralized control systems. Russian Railways has committed itself to meeting these standards to ensure a world-class modern transportation system.

High-speed rail first appeared in Russia in 2009 with the debut of the “Sapsan” train between Moscow and St. Petersburg. Later, lines were added between Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod and between St. Petersburg and Helsinki.