On 16 March 2016, the Moscow-based company, directed by Oleg Belozerov, President of Russian Railways (RZD) as well as Chairman of UIC, held a meeting at its headquarters, convening its Scientific and Technical Council to discuss “updating the main parameters of the General Development Plan for regional-level development of RZD’s rail network by 2020 and 2025”. Oleg Belozerov announced: “We regularly cooperate with major shippers and representatives of partner modes of transport to work on directions for development and on optimising quality, safety and efficiency. The update to the document in 2015 allowed for many aspects of a socio-economic nature to be taken into account, and covers planned public and sporting events as well as projected very high-speed lines. Particular attention was paid to the Far East, Siberia and southern Russia.”
Based on the current status of the rail network, the General Development Plan sets out parameters for the course of action to be taken by 2020 as well further factors sustaining development by 2025. By the year 2020, freight volumes are expected to reach 2.6 trillion tonne-kilometres, passenger volumes to hit 134 billion passenger-kilometres, the total length of high-speed lines to exceed 3,100 km, and that of very high-speed lines to reach 770 km. Freight traffic is thereby expected to increase by 17% and freight volumes by 13%. In order to reach this target, the General Development Plan envisages the construction of 1,200 km of new lines by 2020, and a further 750 km by 2025. In terms of international rail traffic, the General Development Plan makes provision for developing infrastructure for the East-West and North-South International Transport Corridors.
Amongst other projects envisaged by the General Development Plan, it has been planned to develop railway border crossings, build transport logistics centres, and strengthen collaboration with foreign transport companies with a view to carrying out joint railway development projects. The document sets out projections for constructing a further 5,000 kilometres of main-line track by the year 2025. The update to the General Development Plan takes into account ongoing works on categorising and precisely classifying railway lines, as well as revising standards for infrastructure sites and equipment, with the aim of minimising the company’s costs. One section of the document is devoted to the development of high-speed and very high-speed rail. In 2015, the high-speed and very high-speed rail development programme in the Russian Federation saw its principles renewed. The programme’s main activities aim at striking an optimal balance between speed, comfort and ticket prices for passengers and are reflected in the General Development Plan. As a result of the activities envisaged by this document, it is expected that rail passenger volumes will increase by 11% by 2020.