Spain to help build Russian railways

Russian Railways is seeking Spanish expertise in a multi-billion dollar investment project. Spain is ready to help build high-speed railways in mountainous areas and supply trains with an automatic gauge changing system.

Welcomed by the King of Spain and the country’s top officials, the head of Russian Railways, Vladimir Yakunin, went to Madrid as an old friend and a trusted partner.

Russian Railways has a multi-billion dollar investment plan for rail infrastructure – a vital project in times of economic turmoil, according to Yakunin.

“The problem is not only the liquidity of banks, but also the support of the demand – the market, the real economy. So, because of that, we consider it is absolutely essential to keep the infrastructural investment programmes in tact,” he says.

Russian authorities are considering co-operation with Spain’s INECO to build a high speed railway that will carry passengers from Moscow to Sochi in less than 24 hours.

As for international cargo, even high-speed trains have to cope with a variation of track gauge among different countries.

Spain has a solution – Talgo carriages that can alter the gauge on the go.

Mario Oria, Talgo’s export and marketing manager says: “We are hoping that the  Russian market becomes the biggest in that share. Ideally, we’d be talking about 20-30 % of overall sales.”
 
Talgo’s trains can boost cargo volumes from Russia to the EU countries and significantly cut delivery times. Russia has already finished testing the Talgo system and is likely to buy the first ten trains, worth 15 million euros each, as soon as 2011.