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Trans-Siberian rail link to North Korea edges closer after key talks

By The Siberian Times reporter
25 June 2013

Officials from Russia and North Korea say the long-waited train connection is now almost ready.

One of the major stop-overs on the Trans Siberian route, the Novosibirsk Glavny Train Station. Picture: The Siberian Times 

Talks in Moscow between Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways, and Jeong Gil Soo, North Korea's Minister of Railways (MOR) agreed the final details on the Khasas-Rajin link. 

The project is being implemented in accordance with agreements reached in 2000 by Russian President Vladimir Putin and then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. It is linked to cooperation between the two countries and forms  part of a project to restore traffic on the entire Trans-Korean Main Line.

'Over the long term, this will allow most traffic between South Korea, Europe, Russia and the CIS countries to be sent by rail by the Trans-Siberian Railway,' said one report.

The new agreement allows for a single control centre 'with the participation of experts from the joint ventures RasonKonTrans and ZHTK Donghae MOR from North Korea to handle traffic management and facilitate collaboration with the entire railway network in North Korea. The parties also agreed to develop instructions for the movement of trains and a train timetable', stated RIA Oreanda.

The project involves reconnecting the combined dual-track railway with 1520 mm and 1435 mm gauges on the stretch from the Russian border to the port of Rajin in North Korea, a distance of 54 km. This includes the reconstruction of three tunnels, the repair a border railway bridge and construction of a freight terminal with an annual capacity of 4 million tons at Port Rajin.

The report continued:'The project is being implemented by the joint venture RasonKonTrans, which was specially set up in 2008 and is owned by OAO RZD Trading House and the port of Rajin.

'The stretch between Rajin and Tuman stations is estimated at 99.8% complete. Work on commissioning the signalling, centralisation and blocking equipment has been completed along the entire section with the exception of Rajin station. 

'The tunnels are now fully ready. As of mid-May 2013, all the work to replace the timber on the Korean border bridge 'Friendship' has been carried out. Currently, work is underway to finish the bridge and install the railing.

'At the port of Rajin, concrete is being laid and building foundations are being installed at the administrative and amenity building, repair shop and spare parts warehouse, work has begun on laying and ballasting the railway lines within the terminals and utility lines are being laid. 

'Equipment continues to be installed at the harbour wall. Work on installing outdoor lighting and fencing the port terminal's territory is also ongoing'. 

Comments (1)

That is great. A "neutral" united Korea without foreign troops, and without nuclear weapons, could become another large market for Russian exports. Russia, U.S., China, N.Korea and S.Korea could agree the Reunification of Korea. Kim Jong-Un could be the President of a democratic United Korea (a symbolic figure like Mandela). Germany could give its advice to Korea. In Germany, the former Communist Party of the DDR now participates in the democratic Elections as the PDS. So could happen in Korea. Integration can take place. If Kim Jong-Un reaches an agreement for the Reunification of Korea he will be remembered in History as the father of the New Korea. If Nelson Mandela could become the President of South Africa, Kim Jong-Un could become the President of Korea, which could be a Neutrall nation without confrontation neither against the U.S. nor against China. A kind of Austria or Finland, with a good relationship with both sides.
Enrique, Spain
26/06/2013 09:04
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