MOSCOW'S Freight Belt railway is to be converted to a dedicated commuter line by 2005, creating a high-capacity orbital link around the suburbs which will relieve the existing metro of cross-city traffic. A fleet of new electric multiple-units is to be supplied by the Demikhovo EMU plant.
Details of the conversion programme were approved in May, when the city's mayor Yu Luzhkov toured the line with the President of RZD's Moscow Railway administration Gennadi Fadeyev. The two men agreed the details of the new service and the interchange arrangements between the Belt line, the metro and the existing orbital commuter routes.
Conversion has already started on the Presnya - Kanatchikova section, and Fadeyev hopes to be able to launch passenger services within two years.