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'Baikal…I have never seen water that clear in my life'

Pressure grows to 'the construction project of the century' from $32 bln transport wish list

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01 November 2012


An old train engine in memory of those who built the Baikal Amur Mainline Railway. Picture:

The scheme would more than double the cargo capacity of the line to 50 million tonnes of cargo a year by 2020 from 20 million tonnes now, said Izvestia newspaper.

Reports say the matter has still to be decided by the Finance Ministry. 

Rising coal and ore transportation from the Sakha republic (Yakutia), and the development of Khabarovsk port and others on the Northern Sea Route, mean the line will become clogged. 

Its upgrade is also vital if Russia is to realise its potential as a land transit alternative to sea routes between Asia and Europe. 

The reports say the Transport Ministry wants to see the financing of some 50 transportation development projects in Siberia and the Russian Far East, in total worth slightly more than one trillion roubles, or $32 billion, by 2020. 

Some 447 billion roubles - or $14.3 billion - of this kitty would go towards upgrading the Baikal Amur Mainline,  known as BAM, which is one of the longest railways in the world, stretching some 4,324 kilometres. 

It crosses 11 major rivers, and passes through more than 200 railway stations and platforms, including some of the remotest in the world. 

It runs eastward between 610 km and 770 km north of the main Trans Siberian Line from Tayshet in Irkutsk region and much of it is built on permafrost. 

Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev called it 'the construction project of the century'.

Comments (1)

They need to upgrade all their eastern railways to high-speed to compete with new Arctic routes. And make them even more efficient. The Arctic routes take 7-10 days. The railways need to do Vladivostok to Moscow in less than that. Much less. Not more than 5 days. THAT would be the railway project of the Millenium...!
Philip, /UK
02/11/2012 19:11

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