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Head of Russian Railways Proposes High-Speed Cargo Trains from Europe to China

Dec. 21, 2016 (EIRNS)—The president of Russian Railways, Oleg Belozerov, proposed a high-speed cargo railway connection between Europe and China, allowing transport of goods to take as little as two days.

"We plan to reach China via Kazakhstan and to carry special, high-profit cargoes to Europe via Russia, because a ship sails now 60 days, which is a long time. It sails round India and only then arrives to Europe. With a high speed [railway] transport we will be able to deliver goods in two days, and to earn extra money for our country,"

Belozerov told a United Russia party meeting.

In an earlier report, Russian Railways spoke of working on the concept of a cargo train capable of carrying from 300 to 600 tons of cargo at a speed up to 300 kph.

The cargo line will be part of the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway, whose construction should begin in 2017, Belozerov said. With a distance of some 770 kilometers, and a speed of of 350-400 kph, the rail route will cut the time between the two cities to as little as 3-3.5 hours; the current time is 14 hours. The line could be commissioned before 2022-2023.

The $16.8 billion railway project could later be extended to China, connecting the two countries across Kazakhstan. The Moscow-Beijing railroad will be 7,769 kilometers, with a travel time of 32.8 hours—four times faster than the current 130.4 hours. The average annual passenger traffic is estimated at 195 million people.

China is committed to providing $6.5 billion as a credit for 20 years and $1.6 billion as a contribution to the charter capital of the special-project company. The German Initiative Consortium (includes Siemens, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bahn, and other companies) is ready to allocate €2.7 billion to finance the construction of the high-speed railway line and to attract up to €800 million for the project.

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