VISITING Tynda to join celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of the start of work on the Baikal - Amur Magistral, RZD President Gennady Fadeyev announced on July 9 that the railway expected to invest more than 30bn roubles in the Siberian trunk route over the next few years.

Among the priority projects identified by Fadeyev were double-tracking and electrification of segments between Tynda and Komsomolsk-na-Amur, and the expansion of locomotive repair facilities to cope with a growing fleet. Over the next five or six years, the line is expected to handle substantial construction traffic for a 4000 km pipeline linking Transoil’s Kvykt reserves in northern Irkutsk with an export terminal at Krabovaya near Vladivostok on the Sea of Japan coast. Further traffic is expected to come from the development of iron and copper deposits around Chiney.

More funding will go on upgrading the Transbaikalia line from Karymskaya on the Trans-Siberian main line to the Chinese border at Zabaikalsk. Chinese investment is also being sought for the long-planned BAM branch from Berkakit to Yakutsk.

  • On June 29 RZD confirmed that it was to develop a 250 km/h dual-system electric loco to operate through services between St Petersburg and Helsinki from 2008. Freight traffic to the Finnish border at Vyborg is being diverted, so that the existing main line can be upgraded. According to Fadeyev, traffic between Russia and Finland has grown ten-fold in the past decade, and now accounts for 38% of RZD’s international passenger business.