City Rail Links to Get $34Bln

MTTravelers waiting at Leningradsky Station, which was completed in 1849.
Russian Railways will splash out almost 800 billion rubles ($33.9 billion) over the next 12 years to modernize Moscow's local railway network, RZD first vice president Vadim Morozov said Thursday.

The long-standing development plan will see over 300 billion invested by 2015, as the state seeks to bolster the capital's aging network to cope with greater passenger demand, Morozov said at a news conference.

Morozov said 50 percent of the money was expected to come from the federal budget, while Moscow authorities and RZD would cover the remaining costs.

Among the most striking elements of the project was the announcement that a long-awaited final decision on construction of a central train station servicing all three of the capital's major airports may come as early as this summer. The terminal, expected to start working in 2011, would be built near Komsomolskaya Ploshchad, where the Leningradsky, Kazansky and Yaroslavsky stations currently stand, RZD spokesman Dmitry Pertsev said.

"In the next two or three months a decision could be made," said Yulia Grudovskaya, a spokeswoman for Aeroexpress, the company designing the terminal.

The station would allow arriving travelers to transfer more easily between the airports and avoid the traffic that frequently clogs the main roads in and out of Moscow.

Aeroexpress is half owned by both RZD and Transgroup, Pertsev said, adding that the project remains in the planning stage.