German firms want an over €2bn stake in Russian high-speed railway

© Ruslan Krivobok
A consortium of major German companies has offered an over €2 billion investment in the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway, Kommersant daily reported citing its sources.

According to them, officials from Russian Railways (RZD) met with the head of Siemens Russia and CIS Dietrich Meller this month. They discussed the possibility of €1.5 billion investment in the railway construction with an additional €700 million for the purchase of rolling stock. Siemens along with Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Bahn and other major companies are part of the German Initiative Group consortium.

Siemens has said it is ready to provide an enhanced version of the high-speed Sapsan train for the new railway.

The Moscow-Kazan route 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.

China has already expressed an interest in funding the Russian project, saying it will put in up to $6 billion. Beijing 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 cost of the 770-kilometer track which stretches 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.

The Moscow-Kazan railway is a step towards the future connection between Moscow and Beijing as the two countries plan a high-speed railway linking their capitals. The 6,000 kilometer train journey between the two countries will take just two days. In January, RZD head Aleksandr Misharin said the construction of the Russia-China route would take from eight to 10 years.

READ MORE: German consortium offers ‎€2bn to invest in high-speed Russian railways

When talking about the negotiations with German and Chinese partners, Misharin said the company was “choosing a competitive offer.”

Meanwhile, Siemens has expressed an interest in cooperating with Russia and China over the manufacturing of rolling stock for the new route. "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,” said Meller.