Two potential routes are being assessed for the planned Moscow – Beijing high speed railway line, either through Kazakhstan or Russia’s Altai territory, stated Russian Railways (RZD) First Vice President Alexander Misharin.
“There are two options for the 7,700-km route: through Kazakhstan (the Chinese colleagues are designing everything already) and through Barnaul and Novosibirsk, through Altai. Their lengths differ by 300 km, more precisely 290 km. On the Chinese territory 2,200 km of line are being completed this year, so one-half of this rail line is already built”. Another five years will take for completing the construction works for the USD 242 billion Moscow-Beijing high speed railway line.
According to Misharin, the track width of high-speed rail on the territory of Russia will comply with 1520 mm national rail gauge, instead of the 1435 mm rail gauge adopted in China and Europe.
“In the first stage, apparently, there will be a transfer interchange hub. But in general this is an engineering task. As soon as the need arises, rolling stock with adjustable wheel gauge will appear, because that will be a lot cheaper solution than reconstructing the entire infrastructure network,” Misharin added.
In October 2014, the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation, Russian Railways (RZD) and the State Committee on Development and Reform of the People’s Republic of China, and Chinese Railways Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on High-Speed Rail Transport.
The objective of the document was the development of the Eurasian high-speed transport corridor from Moscow to Beijing project, including the priority HSR Moscow – Kazan.
According to the memorandum, China is interested in participating in a project under a PPP and in the equity-financing process. In addition, the Chinese part can supply appropriate technologies and localise production of rolling stock and components.