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Key year for decisions on super fast rail link between Moscow and Beijing

By 0 and 0 and 0
06 January 2015


China Railway High-speed (CRH), a subsidiary of the state-controlled China Railway (CR), could play the key role in the project alongside Russian companies. Picture: Khalidshou

Officials on both sides expect 2015 to be the key year for decisions on investment for a new 400 kilometre and hour line that could eclipse the Trans-Siberian railway.

The journey time between Moscow and Beijing would be slashed from six days to around 33 hours. Going south of the current Trans-Siberian route, it would also link both cities to Kazakhstan capital Astana. 

Amid talks on the full length of the route, the Russian government is pressing ahead with the Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail line, the first link in the eventual route connecting the two capital cities. 

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said 6 billion roubles, some $102 million, has been allocated for design and surveying work. 

'It's important for everyone to know how much progress we have had in this area,' he said last month. This is a very important project with a clear multiplicative effect.'

He stressed: 'Overall, it will become part of the high-speed transportation corridor we plan to create from Moscow to Astana and Beijing.... The first part is for us vital. It could cut travel time between Moscow and Kazan by 75%,' he said.

Transsiberian train

2015 to be the key year for decisions on investment for a new 400 kilometre and hour line that could eclipse the Trans-Siberian railway. Picture: Russian Railways

The current strains in relations between the West and Russia are likely to be a boon for China's accomplished high speed rail builders. China Railway High-speed (CRH), a subsidiary of the state-controlled China Railway (CR), could play the key role in the project alongside Russian companies. 

French company Alstom could suffer due to the current dispute between Moscow and Paris over Mistral warships, according to reports.

Key questions on both the Moscow-Kazan route, and the longer link to Beijing, relate to investment. Possible sources include Russia's National Wealth Fund and Chinese investors.

Billionaire Gennady Timchenko, who has close Kremlin connections and serves as head of the Russian-Chinese Business Council, is hopeful that Chinese investment will be decisive. 

China holds over $2 trillion in U.S. Treasury bills that offer no real returns, but 'Investment in the railway would be pay for itself,' he said, pointing to China's $2 trillion holding in US Treasury Bills. Costs of the project vary massively, with the Beijing Times suggesting $230 billion, but other sources speculating on $150 billion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in October signed a memorandum of understanding in November on rai development cooperation.

Russian Railways (RZD) first vice-president Alexander Misharin said in November: 'We're switching to specific negotiations.'

Comments (4)

Estou diante de uma placa rodoviária onde está escrito Omck 28 km. Estou chegando em Omsk 2700 km de Moscou. Gosto do mundo e das pessoas porquanto a ortodoxia russa também me fez divisar o eterno e ter vida transitória aqui neste mundo. O trecho de rodovia no qual estou é duplicado sem canteiro central substituído por faixas duplas. Ainda assim, a rodovia é segura. O pavimento está perfeito. O corpo da estrada não tem falhas de construção. Ademais ali o Jesus Ortodoxo Deus os privilegiou com um landscape nivelado sem fim, esverdeado magnífico de beterrabas ou trigo não sei, ladeando a estrada e o viajante...:)
Pedro, Brasil
25/01/2018 19:24
Travelled from St Petersburg to Moscow by a night train 8 births to a cabin ,Very slow trip but great people ,couldn't understand a word I was saying, One starting yodelling and pointing at me ,No I said Australia not Austria ,ha ha
So in the end I said Kangaroo whilst hopping around the cabin , They all smiled and I knew now they understood ,
We all went to sleep in the knowledge we were all in good company , Three days later I decided to go back to St Petersburg by the new express train , also a night train , Wow it was quite luxurious with a 4 berth cabin
As there was only three of us .there was plenty of room , also a huge meal was on the table waiting to be eaten ,but alas the other two passengers wanted to go to bed straight away , so the food was wasted ,The other two were in bed with lights off before I got into bed , We arrived in St Petersburg early dawn , They left without a single word , Yes the trip was quiet ,fast and smooth ,BUT give me the slow train anyday , It was a lot more fun .
patrick travers, perth WA
08/01/2015 12:36
North Korea is NOT a product of Russia (lot of Chinese fighters fought in there Korean war dressed as North Koreans-its a puppet state of China, without China support North Korea would have collapsed now), and communism is also NOT a product of Russia.
Beware of false knowledge its more dangerous than ignorance.
Lazar, Moscow
08/01/2015 02:28
This is excellent news! Let us hope that planning can proceed rapidly and construction started quickly! Another line should be constructed to traverse the Korean peninsula via Seoul to terminate in Pusan. Since North Korea is a product of Russia, both Russia and China need to step in and implement this route, regardless of what it might take.
CharlesWilliamMorganJr, Seoul, Korea
07/01/2015 12:50

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