RUSSIA: On March 16 Russian Railways called tenders for a contract to undertake surveys, project development and route planning for the proposed 770 km Moscow – Kazan dedicated high speed line. The deadline for submissions is April 16, and the maximum price is set at 20·79bn roubles plus VAT.

The proposed line would have 15 stations, serving locations including Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod and Cheboksary. The Moscow – Kazan journey time would be 3½ h, and initial ridership is estimated at 10·5 million passengers/year. In the longer term the route could be extended to Yekaterinburg.

RZD said the line would be the largest current infrastructure project in Russia, and would be implemented through a public-private partnership.

‘The development of high speed rail is a fundamentally new step in the modernisation of the Russian transport system, one which countries such as Japan, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, China and many others have already taken’, said RZD President Vladimir Yakunin. ‘In announcing this tender, we are confident that both Russian and foreign companies with experience in designing and constructing high speed railway lines will take part. I am convinced that localising in Russia advanced technologies in the field of railway transport will have a positive impact on the development of the entire economy of the Russian Federation.’