Russia’s largest bank, Sber, has expressed its willingness to participate in the financing of a new high-speed rail project connecting Moscow and St. Petersburg. Vice-chairman of the board, Anatoly Popov, made the announcement on Thursday, stating that Sber will join several other major lenders in funding the project. The construction of the 650km line received approval from President Vladimir Putin last week. VEB.RF and Gazprombank, two Russian banks, have already declared their readiness to participate in the financing and construction of the project, which is estimated to cost 1.7 trillion rubles ($18 billion).
According to Popov, this project is of great importance for Russia, considering its vast distances. He also highlighted that the Moscow-St. Petersburg high-speed line will act as the foundation for the development of a network of similar highways. The new route is expected to reduce travel time between the two cities to just 2 hours and 15 minutes, significantly shorter than the current four-hour journey on the Sapsan high-speed train. Popov predicts that by 2030, the average annual passenger traffic on this route will reach approximately 22.6 million people.
High-speed railways are known for their ability to operate at much faster speeds compared to traditional alternatives. These trains can travel at speeds ranging from 200-400kph, providing efficient transportation for commuters. Currently, the Sapsan service, operated by Russian Railways between Moscow and St. Petersburg, has a top speed of 250kph.
In addition to the Moscow-St. Petersburg route, plans are underway for another high-speed railway between Moscow and Kazan, the fifth-largest city in Russia and the capital of Tatarstan. The proposed 770km journey aims to significantly reduce travel time from the current 12 hours to just three and a half hours. China has expressed interest in funding this project, recognizing the potential for boosting bilateral ties and trade between the two countries, alongside the investment opportunities it presents.
The development of high-speed rail infrastructure in Russia signifies a commitment to improving transportation connectivity and enhancing economic development. These projects will not only benefit passengers by reducing travel times, but they also hold the potential to stimulate economic growth and facilitate trade between cities. The participation of major banks like Sber, VEB.RF, and Gazprombank in financing these projects underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in driving infrastructure development.
With the approval of the Moscow-St. Petersburg high-speed rail project and plans for a similar route to Kazan, Russia is poised to expand its high-speed rail network and harness the advantages of this efficient mode of transportation. By investing in these projects, Russia demonstrates its commitment to modernizing its transportation infrastructure and making travel more convenient and efficient for its citizens and visitors.
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