CONSTRUCTION work is due to get under way next year on a rail link to Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, following the signing of an agreement in July between Russian Railways Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko, the Vice-Premier of the Moscow City Government Iosif Ordzhonokidze and Aeroflot Director-General Valery Okulov. The decision to connect the airport to the existing rail network follows various proposals for an independent link or a high-speed maglev route.

By the end of 2003, a 5 km spur will be built from the Moscow - St Petersburg main line into the Sheremetyevo 3 air terminal now under construction. A second phase will add a fourth track along 22·5 km of the main line into the Leningradskaya terminus, providing additional capacity for airport services. Payback period for the US$57m project is put at seven years.

In the longer term, the city government would like to extend some airport services over the Moscow Belt Railway, to provide direct connections from Sheremetyevo to the capital's Vukovo and Domodedovo airports.