ELECTRIFICATION of the northernmost connection between Russia’s Northern and October railways was completed on December 25, boosting capacity for freight services from the Urals and Siberia to the White Sea port of Murmansk.

Russian Railways’ Vice-President Valentin Gapanovich, October Railway President Gennadi Komarov and Northern Railway President Vasiliy Bilokha joined the celebrations at Malenga.

The line between Obozerskaya and Sumsky Posad has been wired at 25 kV 50Hz by Moscow’s Baltic Building Co, which is also electrifying several other routes for RZD. The Northern Railway’s 57 km from Maloshuyka to Malenga had already been completed, and energisation of the October Railway’s 74·4 km from Malenga to Sumsky Posad eliminates the final diesel-worked gap.

The route currently carries 22 trains each way per day, including passenger services, general freight, coal, oil and mineral ores. This figure is expected to rise to 27, lifting annual freight tonnage over the line to around 50 million gross tonnes.

H On December 27 RZD President Gennadi Fadeyev formally inaugurated electric working on the 144 km route from Staryy Oskol in the Belgorod region to Valuyki near the Ukrainian border. Wiring of the line over the past year has cost a total of 2·7bn roubles.