RUSSIAN Railways President Vladimir Yakunin confirmed on December 12 that terms had been agreed for a revised contract with Siemens for the supply of high speed trainsets, which is expected to be signed in March.

Several agreements were signed last year for RZD to buy around 60 trainsets from Siemens, with some to be assembled locally as part of a technology transfer package. With other investment taking priority in the railway’s 2006 budget Yakunin indicated last year that the high speed trains might have to be deferred (RG 10.05 p598).

Under the new deal negotiated by Siemens Transportation Systems President Hans Schabert and RZD Senior Vice-President Boris Lapidus, Siemens will build eight trainsets in Germany. To be delivered in 2007, they will operate on the Moscow - St Petersburg route. The deal is expected to include a 14-year maintenance contract.

Commenting on the accord, Yakunin welcomed the ’constructive negotiations’ that had ’agreed on favourable prices’. He remains hopeful that high speed trains will be built in Russia in the future, in partnership with foreign companies.