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Opening ceremony for the third Moscow Central Diameter

August 17, 2023, Moscow

Vladimir Putin attended the opening of service on the new surface transit line – the Leningradsko-Kazansky Third Moscow Central Diameter (MCD-3) rail line at the Manezh Exhibition Hall as part of the Year of the New Transport Framework exhibition.

The President inspected the upgraded rail rolling stock, the Moscow-2020 and Ivolga 3.0 carriages, at the Year of the New Transport Framework exhibition. The exhibition is taking place on the sidelines of the Moscow Urban Forum and is devoted to the biggest projects in Moscow transport. The President also saw the city transport development interactive map. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin explained the various exhibits.

Later, a ceremony was held to launch passenger service on the MCD-3. It was also attended by Moscow Region Governor Andrei Vorobyov and Russian Railways Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board Oleg Belozerov.

The Leningradsko-Kazansky Third Moscow Central Diameter (MCD-3) is a new rail route that cuts diagonally through the city. It passes through the entire capital, linking Moscow’s Zelenograd with Ramenskoye in the Moscow suburbs. It is 85 kilometres long and has 38 stations, including 14 stations with transfers to the metro, the Moscow Central Ring and suburban commuters. The MCD-3 is designed to improve public transit service in over 20 Moscow districts and take the load off the Leningradskoye and Novoryazanskoye motorways and Vologogradsky Prospekt.

The first two diameter lines (MCD-1 and MCD-2) were opened in November 2019. MCD-1connected Odintsovo and Lobnya, and MCD-2 linked Nakhabino and Podolsk. Two more lines are planned: the Kaluzhsko-Nizhegorodsky MCD-4 and the Yaroslavsko-Paveletsky MCD-5.

Moscow central diameters are a new type of public transit that connects suburban commuter train routes to the Moscow Metro. This is a joint project of the Transport Ministry of Russia, the Moscow Government, the Moscow Region Government and Russian Railways.

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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: To begin with, I would like to congratulate Moscow and Mr Sobyanin’s team on the implementation of yet another powerful project. Obviously, this is very much in demand by Muscovites and all those who come to the city, work in it every day, or live in the nearest suburbs. Well, it does not seem to be a very long route, but it is certainly needed by hundreds of thousands of people. I think eventually the figure will increase to a million. This is the first point.

Second. Of course, we have discussed the first stage of a high-speed railway project between Moscow and St Petersburg for a long time, but it seems to me that now we have really approached an opportunity to turn this into reality. We have reviewed this proposal for a long time from all sides – economic, financial and transport as such. Indeed, as I understand Mr Belozerov, if we build a new passenger transit railway, the current line can be dedicated to cargo transportation. In this case, freight shipping speeds would increase substantially, which is vital for the national economy overall.

As for passenger service, of course, train speeds would increase tangibly. The travel time would decrease from the current 4 hours to 2:15 hours between St Petersburg and Moscow. It would drop to 39 minutes between Tver and Moscow and to 29 minutes between Veliky Novgorod and St Petersburg instead of the current 3:10 hours. And, of course this should be just the first stage of this effort.

Later, we would certainly extend high speed rail to Nizhny Novgorod and Voronezh, and from Nizhny Novgorod to Kazan and from Kazan to the Urals region. This would not only considerably reduce travel time from one metropolis to another but would also improve the connectedness of the country’s regions and promote the development of various areas like education and science that seem to be distinct from transport.

The point is that when people are able to move easily in half an hour or an hour from one large city to another, the distance would actually be measured in minutes and hours rather than kilometres; if it takes an hour to get from one city to another, it would certainly be much easier to study and work there, or perform other types of activities.

Obviously, this would promote the development of high-tech branches of the economy and industry, and not just transport engineering, which is natural, but also metallurgical industry, IT technology and so on. This is a powerful impetus for the country’s progress. There is no doubt that we must continue developing this system. If we extended it from Moscow to Adler, it would be a 10-hour trip. This is a completely different story for those who go on vacation to the south. Obviously, we would also need to think about connecting Lugansk and Donetsk to this system.

I think we should discuss this issue with the Government of Belarus. I will talk to President Alexander Lukashenko. The Minsk direction is very much in demand by both our citizens and people in Belarus, especially since we are building the Union State at a good pace.

This is a very important goal – 80 percent of our citizens will have better transport service – both in terms of quality and most importantly, travel time, as I said.

Let’s get to work on this. Recently, we discussed this with Mr Sobyanin and the Chairman of the Board, the CEO of Sberbank [German Gref] – the banks are bound to be part of this. They see good economic and financial prospects in it. I am sure we can make it work.

August 17, 2023, Moscow