Train in Russia.

RUSSIA: Visiting Tokyo on January 14, Transport Minister Igor Levitin issued an invitation for Japanese companies to participate in Russian transport infrastructure projects, highlighting in particular the planned rail link between the mainland and the island of Sakhalin.

According to Vice-Minister Andrei Nedossekov, the government has allocated US$370m in its 2010-15 budget for construction of the 582 km line. This would run from Selikhin station near Kosomolsk-na-Amur on the Baikal-Amur Magistral and run to Nysh station near the town of Nogliki on Sakhalin. The crossing of the Neveski Strait would involve either a 12·4 km tunnel or a 6·6 km bridge.

In the longer term, Nedossekov says proposals are under consideration for the construction of a rail tunnel connecting Sakhalin with the Japanese island of Hokkaido.