RUSSIA: An 803 km Moscow - Vladimir - Nizhny Novgorod - Kazan route should form the first stage of a high speed rail programme, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told President Putin and other guests at recent conference held to discuss the prospects for developing dedicated high speed lines.

Three corridors are under consideration, running from the capital to Kazan, to St Petersburg and to Adler via Rostov-na-Donu.

The proposed line would cut Moscow - Kazan journey times from more than 13 h to 3½ h, while Nizhny Novgorod - Kazan timings would be reduced from 10 h 32 min to 1 h 37 min.

The cost of the line is put at up to 928bn roubles, and Yakunin said that international experience and economic modelling suggest that the most effective way of taking forward development would be though a PPP, with the state investing 70% and the private sector 30%.

Potential sources of finance include pension funds, the state Russian Direct Investment Fund, the Ministry of Finance's pension investor Russian National Wealth Fund and infrastructure bonds.

Yakunin said high speed rail projects would require skilled staff and complex equipment, and there would be a need to develop domestic infrastructure and rolling stock capabilities.

A working group is to be established to prioritise the routes to be developed, define implementation and financial strategies and allocate funds for feasibility studies, which regional governments are to be asked to support.

Proposed high speed corridors

  • Moscow - Nizhny Novgorod - Kazan - Yekaterinburg
  • Moscow - Rostov-na-Donu - Adler
  • Moscow - St Petersburg