ASTANA – A new railroad connecting the capitals of the three Customs Union states and Almaty could be built soon, said Askar Mamin, head of Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, Kazakhstan’s national railway company, and Vladimir Yakunin, president of the state-run Russian Railways Company, during a press conference of the Railway Service Council of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Astana on May 7.
“It was a proposal made by the head of the state, [Kazakh President] Nursultan Nazarbayev, to launch a project to construct a high-speed railroad, Minsk-Moscow-Astana-Almaty,” explained Mamin. This project was also discussed as part of the construction of another railroad connecting Moscow and Kazan, which was planned to be extended through Ekaterinburg to Astana, he said.
“I suppose that this is an absolutely prospective project that is going to be realised in the future. Taking into account the political cooperation between the states of the Custom Union, the construction of this railroad belongs to the projects that have to be carried out as they stand for further integration,” explained Yakunin.
Other key topics discussed during the council meeting concerned the fulfilment of tasks begun after last year’s meeting, reviewing work carried out during 2013 and the first quarter of the current year, estimating train timetables, launching the Unified Freight Car Fleet Control System and tariff policy. A scientific conference, “Innovation engineering development strategy of the railroad system of Kazakhstan for 2013-2018,” was also held within the framework of the council meeting.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov, who quoted President Nazarbayev in his speech. “This council meeting is a key arrangement for further development of the railway branch. Kazakhstan is a bridge between East and West, between Europe and Asia. Taking into account commodity circulation in Eurasia and the geographical position of the country, Kazakhstan has to become a transport hub. That is why rail communication plays a vital role for us,” said Massimov.
This was the fifth meeting of the council in Astana. According to Mamin, the work of the council promotes the competitiveness of the railway service and stable economic development.