Russian Railways has said they are ‘actively engaged’ in preparations for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Their subsidiary, the Institute of Transport Economics and Development, has set out a strategy for modernising rail infrastructure in time for the event.
Russia will be hosting 64 matches in 13 different cities, with stadium capacities varying between 45,000 and 90,000 people.
The amount of people wanting to travel between cities will mean current infrastructure must be upgraded.
Russian Railways say high speed services will offer the ‘best means of transporting fans and tourists quickly, punctually, safely, and in all weather conditions’.
They say such services are ‘essential’ to provide high quality transportation during the World Cup.
The study identified the need for projects in the following areas:
- High speed passenger services at speeds of up to 300-400 km/h on dedicated lines between Moscow and St. Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod, and Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan, with a further extension to Yekaterinburg.
- High speed passenger services at speeds of up to 160-200 km/h on the Moscow – Kharkov – Rostov-on-Don – Krasnodar – Adler route, and between Moscow and Yaroslavl.
- Faster passenger trains to ensure acceptable travel times between venues. This applies to several routes in the Volga region, linking Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Samara, Volgograd, and Kazan with each other and with Moscow, and also connecting Russia’s central region with Kaliningrad, Russia’s exclave on the Baltic Sea.
- High speed international connections to bring foreign tourists to the tournament’s venues on the routes: Moscow – Minsk – Warsaw – Berlin; Moscow – Kiev; Moscow – Riga; and St Petersburg – Tallinn.
- Constructing new intermodal passenger hubs and developing existing ones, along with links between airports and cities, to transport passengers from major airports to city centres where matches will be taking place.
During work on the projects outlined in the strategy, test runs will be carried out with journey times of two to five hours between venues, particularly in Russia’s central region (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod), the south region (Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Adler) and the Volga region (Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Saransk, Samara).
In cases where travel times between venues cannot be reduced to five hours (between Moscow and Kazan, Saransk, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, and Krasnodar), the company plans to provide passenger services with journey times of eight to 12 hours on comfortable night trains.
The number of additional fast trains needed on all routes for the World Cup is estimated at up to 70 pairs per day, depending on the stage of the tournament.