RUSSIA: Foreign contractors would be invited to bid for the construction of a proposed high speed line between Moscow and St Petersburg, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin has confirmed.

A seminar was held in Moscow on August 29 to discuss the potential for South Korean suppliers and financiers to co-operate in the development of a Russian high speed network, and Yakunin said RZD is also 'actively studying' high speed rail in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Spain.

RZD subsidiary Skorostniy Magistrali is developing proposals for a 660 km high speed line which would cut Moscow - St Petersburg journey times to 2½ h from the current 3 h 45 min on the 645 km existing route used by 250 km/h Siemens Sapsan trains.

According to RZD, the new line would have capacity for 'up to 42 trains to run simultaneously at speeds of up to 400 km/h, allowing for the transportation of up to 8 million passengers per year.'

Yakunin said the high speed proposal is not only 'a formidable business project', but also 'a crucial element of state policy with respect to innovation and socioeconomics'.