A subsidiary of China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC) has signed a construction contract worth 58.26 billion roubles (US$735.77 million) for a section of the Moscow-Kazan railway. The company is building the fifth out of eight sections.
The entire 790-kilometre railway running from Moscow to Kazan is expected to be completed in 2024, after long delays. It will handle trains with cruising speeds of up to 360 kilometres per hour. The rail route will pass through Nizhny Novgorod, terminating in Kazan, which is located on the banks of the Volga River, and is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. The journey time from Moscow to Kazan along the new line will be three hours and 17 minutes, instead of 14 hours at present. There are plans for 16 stations.
In 2016 China agreed to provide a 20-year loan worth 400 billion roubles for the project. The Moscow-Kazan expressway is itself planned as the first phase of the Russian section of a high-speed connection between Moscow and Beijing, which will provide cheap and efficient freight transport.
The project is being developed by JSC High Speed Rail Lines, a subsidiary of JSC Russian Railways, through a public-private partnership (PPP). Overall financing for the project is expected to be obtained through additional PPPs, as well as from national funds and private investors.
CRRC already has experience in Russia, having worked on a 4.6km section of the Big Circle Line (BCL) in Moscow. The 70km line is one of the most ambitious metro construction projects in the world. When completed, it will have 31 stations and three train maintenance facilities. It will be the longest circle line in the world, exceeding even the 57km Second Circle Line of the Beijing Metro.
The BCL will link existing and future radial lines up to 10km farther out from the original Circle Line, with the aim of reducing congestion in central Moscow. It is expected to be completed in late 2022.