RZD already operates Siemens Velaro trainsets at up to 250 km/h on the conventional 1 520 mm gauge main line between Moscow and St Petersburg. The Moscow - Kazan line would be Russia's first dedicated high speed corridor.

RUSSIA: On May 1 Russian Railways announced that a Sino-Russian consortium led by Mosgiprotrans would undertake design work for the planned 770 route-km Moscow – Kazan high speed line.

Covering engineering surveys, project development planning, surveying and the development of design documentation, the contract is to be undertaken within a budget of 20bn roubles. It runs until the end of 2016.

Headed by engineering design institute Mosgiprotrans, the consortium also includes urban rail design specialists Nizhegorodmetroproekt and China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co. RZD says that CREEC, through its 16 subsidiary design offices, has designed more than 3 500 route-km of high speed railway in China for speeds of 250 km/h or higher.

Passing through seven regions, the proposed Moscow – Kazan line would have 15 stations, serving locations including Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod and Cheboksary. End to end journey time is put at 3½ h, and initial ridership is estimated at 10·5 million passengers/year. In the longer term the route could be extended to Yekaterinburg.

RZD said the line would be the largest current infrastructure project in Russia, and would be implemented through a public-private partnership.