Russian Railways has confirmed that it will be building a new rail link in partnership with Germany that will connect St. Petersburg with the German capital of Berlin. In addition, several other domestic and international railway projects are also under consideration by the railway department.
St. Petersburg to Berlin
The proposed rail line will have trains that move from Berlin to Kaliningrad, and then eventually to St. Petersburg, which is often called the Northern Capital of Russia. The existing route between the two destinations goes through Belarus and Poland. And this usually makes travel between the two cities a time-consuming affair.
Traveling to Kaliningrad from Berlin is also difficult since you have to change trains twice. With the upcoming rail line, such difficulties will be minimized. The travel time between Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg will be reduced by around 50 percent.
When completed, the new rail line is expected to boost tourism between the two regions. Though an official launch date has not been announced, the project is reportedly under development phase in Russia.
“At the moment, the technical development of the project is being carried out. The matter is, for example, that some stations on the route can accept trains with 50 cars, and some can’t. It is too early to speak about the approximate time frames of the launch,” RT quotes Russian Railways.
Other railway projects
Among the several other international railway projects that Russia is interested in, one that it seriously wants to be a part of is the Trans-Arabian Railway, a mega project that aims to connect all countries in the Gulf region through rail lines spanning 2,100 km. Infrastructure minister of the UAE Abdullah Belhaif al-Nuaimi indicated that the rail project could become operational by 2021 despite the differences that have cropped up between the various Gulf nations.
“Saudi Arabia approved a program of infrastructure development until 2030. It contains a railway component and the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure of Saudi Arabia is currently preparing a tender for implementation of this project. A consultant has been selected; we received a request for our proposals concerning performance of the company and terms,” RT quotes First Deputy CEO of the Russian railway operator Aleksandr Misharin.
Russia is also heavily investing in its Arctic railway project. The project will eventually link two railway lines, the line between Nadym and Tyumen and the Northern line from Arkhangelsk. A line between Sabetta and Bovanenkovo is also a part of the project. In addition to constructing new rails, the Arctic railway project also seeks to do some major upgrades to the existing rail lines in the region. The entire project is being funded through a public-private partnership involving the Russian Railways, Gazprom, and other private companies.
Just in 2018, the country’s railways have set aside more than US$27 billion for various rail projects. While Russian Railways will put up about US$9 billion for its projects, Moscow Municipality will contribute over US$20 billion for developing urban and suburban rail transportation. Both Russian Railways and Moscow Municipality will also collaborate on creating 5 to 15 light rail lines in Moscow that will potentially help reduce traffic volumes up to 12 percent.