RUSSIA: The concession agreement for the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway is scheduled to be signed by September 8, after Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on August 15 giving government approval.

The SShKh consortium will be responsible for financing, building and operating the 113bn rouble line, which would form a 353 km route between the current railheads at Labytnangi and Nadym. Construction is expected to begin in 2019 for completion in 2023.

Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District is to provide land and will fund part of the cost of two major bridges over the rivers Ob and Nadym.

The line would connect RZD’s Northern and Sverdlovsk divisions, freeing capacity on the Trans-Siberian route and connecting the Yamal Peninsula to the rail network. Freight is forecast at 23·9 million tonnes/year, with the most important traffic being gas condensate and crude oil.

As part of the project, Russian Railways is to modernise the 1 318 km Kotlas – Labytnangi line to the west, and the 93 km Korotchaevo – Pangody line to the east. Gazprom will complete the construction and commissioning of its own 112 km Pangody – Nadym line in the east. These works by RZD and Gazprom are valued at 90bn roubles, taking the overall cost of the project to more than 200bn roubles.