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1 Jun, 2009 06:20

Global partners hit the tracks with Russian Railways

European transport giants Alstom and Siemens say they are ready to start producing train locomotives in Russia, with Russian railways signing cooperation agreements at the 4th International Railway Business Forum.

France, Germany, Finland, Austria are just some of those demonstrating interest in cooperating with the world’s largest railway network Russian Railways. Alstom of France – the holder of a 25% stake in Russian train-maker Transmashholding said the first electric locomotive produced in Russia will be completed next year, according to President, Philippe Mellier.

“It will be engineered in Russia, manufactured in Russia with Russian suppliers.”

Dietrich Mueller, Head of Siemens Russia, Alstom’s main rival in Russia, says the German company is also planning to launch a locomotive next year under a Joint Venture with the Russian Sinara Group.

”The President of Russian railways, Mr Yakunin, announced in 2007 a large strategic programme until 2030, and according to this strategy only RR would buy 23000 locomotives. And we hope this Joint Venture can take part in this huge strategic programme.”

Analysts say foreign companies are making a smart move entering the Russian market, even though Russian Railways has halved its investment program for this year. The company is expected to make a loss this year, but Vadim Mikhailov, Head of Business advisory services in the CIS for Ernst & Young says that doesn’t detract from the outlook.

“Russia has got a lot of capacity – sometimes underrated capacity – that foreigners, right now start recognizing.”

Running around the globe Russian trains and railways might seem just a dream but at the international Railway Business forum In Sochi, foreign transport giants showed they are ready to help make it come true.