Consortium proposes vast expansion project of Russian rail routes
A consortium of Gazprombank and construction company BTS-Most has proposed the extension and reconstruction of the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) and the Trans-Siberian railway. The two companies stressed that Russia’s trade and transport re-orientation makes investments in these rail routes imperative to support connectivity with Asian countries.
Large rail arteries characterise the vast Russian railway network. The Trans-Siberian railway is one of them, and it is very well known because it connects the Russian Far East with Moscow. On the other hand, the Baikal-Amur Mainline is a railway line running parallel to the Trans-Siberian route. It connects the port of Sovetskaya Gavan at the Sea of Japan to Tayshet in Siberia, where it connects with the Trans-Siberian railway. In total, it covers a distance of 4,300 kilometres. The Mainline is a very good alternative to the frequently congested Trans-Siberian route and an increasingly important route on its own.
Letter to Putin
The consortium sent an official letter to the Russian president Vladimir Putin to ask for his approval to undertake the investment and implementation of the project, informed website Russia Briefing. Gazprombank claimed that such a project would boost the development of the Russian Far East and Siberia and increase the Russian infrastructure’s capacity.
Specifically, Gazpormbank and BTS-Most proposed project includes track renovation and the elimination of bottlenecks by building more tunnels and railway bridges. The BAM route, for instance, consists of ten tunnels. Some will be reconstructed, and some will acquire complementary infrastructure-meaning the building of new tunnels next to the existing ones to double capacity.
Higher-ranking governmental officials that received the request are currently considering its feasibility. However, despite the pragmatic motives and background, the proposal’s vastness seems to be the first burden towards its implementation. Nevertheless, as Russia Briefing explained, the final decision for the project’s future will be taken in July.
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