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Meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov

November 15, 2017, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin had a working meeting with Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov.

Mr Sobyanin and Mr Belozerov presented to the President a project to build a new above-ground metro line in Moscow.

In addition, the participants discussed Russian Railways’ performance in 2017 and plans to expand transport infrastructure in the Moscow Region.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: We wanted to discuss the joint work of Russian Railways and the Moscow Mayor’s Office on developing transport infrastructure of the capital.

Who wants to begin?

Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin: Mr President, at your instruction, we are implementing a major project to develop the Moscow transport hub, which includes the construction of roads, junctions, and the metro. We are making strides in this area.

As you correctly said, developing rail transportation is one of the key projects in developing the Moscow transport hub. The Moscow Central Circle, which was implemented under your supervision and at your instruction, is the first such major project.

Currently, more than 400,000 passengers use the Moscow Central Circle every day. It is key infrastructure.

Improving commuter traffic and building new main tracks is our next project, which we are implementing in conjunction with Russian Railways. Two such projects in the Leningrad direction and the Kiev direction have been implemented. As a result, a ride from Zelenograd to Moscow now takes 24 minutes.

Next, we will focus on the Yaroslavl, Gorky, Kursk, Belarus directions, where we will build new main tracks within the next 12–18 months. We are moving fast to get there.

The rolling stock is being quickly replaced, with 30 percent already upgraded. As a result, the number of commuter passengers went up by a third to over 600 million passengers a year, meaning that two million people use commuter transport on a daily basis.

This is an enormous amount of transport work, which, of course, improves the situation. Finally, building freeways is our third project, which we have begun to discuss with Russian Railways, and which we briefly discussed with you.

Today, a commuter train reaches a station in Moscow and stops there, as this is effectively a dead end. Expanding the infrastructure closer to a Moscow station is a problem, since it is already in the city. What we have as a result is inefficient use of this resource, lower speeds, and a disconnection between these tracks.

So, together with Russian Railways, we came up with a solution where we will connect disparate parts of these tracks and create pass-through tracks. Here, using the example of the Belorussky or Savelovsky directions we can see that, in fact, we will be building a new ground-based metro line of about 50 kilometres, which will transport 42 million people.

The speed of travel from one end to the other will double. Today, for example, it takes at least two hours to get to Odintsovo from Lobnya on any type of transport. If you choose to use public transportation, you will have to transfer three times. With our solution, it will take less than an hour without any transfers.

In the case of Moscow, a ride across the city within the Moscow Ring Road will take less than 40 minutes. This is a completely new type of transport.

If we built such a line in the form of a metro, it would take about 250 billion rubles and many years of work. Under our plan, we will do it in 12–18 months while spending a minimal amount of money. Of course, this will have a major social effect.

The Rizhsko-Paveletskoye direction, which will also transport about 40 million passengers and also see a doubling of speeds, is the second such project, which can be implemented in a short amount of time as well.

We can create anywhere from 5 to 15 such directions, depending on the need and the passenger traffic. Of course, we can do the work in the first two directions fairly quickly without capital investments. The remaining directions will require certain capital works, and they can be implemented within five years.

However, this is an absolutely realistic project that will change the situation in the Moscow transport hub. It will be used by about 300 million passengers, and the entire transport infrastructure will have 10 to 12 percent fewer passengers, including the motorways and the Moscow Ring Road.

This will affect not only these passengers, but also all the people who live in Greater Moscow. I hope that our colleagues from Russian Railways will support it, especially since this will be a joint project financed from the municipal budget and the reserve resources of Russian Railways. We do not yet see any need for additional funds from the federal budget. We believe we will cope using our resources.

Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov: Mr President, last year’s decisions regarding passenger transportation, including setting VAT at zero, have produced very good results as we can see this year. First, we plan to cross a psychological threshold at the end of this year when we surpass one billion passengers.

At the moment, we are going at a rate of 9.5 percent growth. In conjunction with the Moscow authorities, we are considering significant projects. For us, they are important from the standpoint of developing digital technologies and the capabilities of our Russian railways.

Colleagues from abroad come to us, look at the Moscow Central Circle and try to learn from our experience. At the same time, we are starting to replicate such projects: St Petersburg, Kazan, and Novosibirsk have expressed interest in them.

Moscow railway stations account for 65 percent of suburban transportation in Russian Railways’ total traffic. The construction of such pass-through tracks will make it possible not only to transport passengers inside Moscow, but also to combine this with region-to-region transportation and launch high-speed rail in Moscow as well.

Moscow will be able to become a good air hub, because, according to our plans, once we complete this project, all rides between the airports will be no more than one hour. This is the time that passengers need for such transfers. So, this new living standard, which is being formed here, will be replicated in the rest of our country.

Sergei Sobyanin: Mr President, we would like you to issue an instruction so that we can consider this project one of the priorities within the Moscow transport hub.

Vladimir Putin: Will do. When can you start working on it?

Sergei Sobyanin: The first two projects are the most efficient and account for 30 percent of the total volume of the project. We are ready to start next year and have it done either in late 2018 or mid-2019. That is, the deadline is fairly tight.

For the remaining projects, we will need five years to do the design and complete capital construction. We will try to have it done earlier.

Vladimir Putin: Good. Let us begin.


November 15, 2017, The Kremlin, Moscow