Siemens wants in on Russian high-speed railway project

High-speed train Sapsan (made by the German Siemens concern) which runs between St. Petersburg and Moscow. © Alexei Druzhinin
Germany’s Siemens has expressed an interest in cooperating with Russia and China to produce rolling stock for the high-speed rail route from Moscow to Kazan.

"We may consider a trilateral partnership. We have a joint venture with the Russian Sinara group and excellent relations with China in the area of train production. We have also provided both countries with our Velaro technology,” Siemens Russia and CIS chief Dietrich Meller told Russian business daily Vedomosti.

According to Meller, the three sides are discussing cooperation though no concrete talks have been held on contract with Siemens.

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The German company is ready to offer an enhanced version of its high-speed Sapsan trains.

“The second generation Sapsan train is an absolutely new model of 2016,” Meller said, giving as an example the difference between mobile phones of 2000 and the latest smartphones. Siemens’ Sapsan trains currently operate on the Moscow to St. Petersburg line.

In December, the Vice President of Russian Railways (RZD) Aleksandr Misharin said Germany’s Initiative Group wanted to provide up to ‎€2 billion to finance the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway.

The new link is planned as part of a network of high-speed lines to be built by the time Russia hosts the football World Cup in 2018.

Beijing has already expressed an interest in funding the ambitious project, saying it will put up $6 billion. China considers the Moscow-Kazan project not only as an investment, but also as a way to boost communication and trade with Russia and Europe.

The joint Russia-China investment in the railway is about $15 billion.

The total cost of the 770-kilometer track which will stretch through seven regions of Russia, is estimated at $21.4 billion. The current journey time from Moscow to Kazan of 12 hours will be reduced to three and a half. The trains will be able to reach speeds of 400 kilometers per hour.

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Siemens is the largest engineering company in Europe, and specializes in manufacturing and maintenance of electronics, power engineering equipment, transportation, light engineering as well as communications services. Headquartered in Berlin and Munich the concern employs over 400,000 people.