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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rail Link to Sheremetyevo in Offing

East Line GroupAn express train departing Paveletsky Station for Domodedovo Airport. Similar trains may run on a new line to Sheremetyevo.
Getting to Sheremetyevo Airport from downtown Moscow will take no more than 20 minutes if Aeroflot, the Railways Ministry and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov have their way.

Luzhkov, Aeroflot general director Valery Okulov and Railways Minister Nikolai Aksyonenko are to sign an agreement to construct a railroad link between the airport and Leningradsky Station, Aeroflot spokeswoman Irina Dannenberg said Friday.

Technical issues are to be paved out by the end of this year and construction should be completed in 2003. The project will cost an estimated $57 million, an amount that is expected to be recouped in seven years.

The plan calls for a linkup of Leningradsky Station to the planned Sheremetyevo Terminal 3, whose construction is being spearheaded by Aeroflot. Two 5.2-kilometer railroad tracks will be laid from the airport to the Oktyabrskaya railroad line, which goes from Moscow to St. Petersburg. From there, fresh track will be laid for the remaining 22.5 kilometers to Leningradsky Station.

The planned airport link is part of a bigger project to provide railroad access to all Moscow airports, said Vladimir Polosukhin, spokesman for the Railways Ministry.

To date, only Domodedovo Airport is connected with Moscow by railroad. An express train travels from Paveletsky Station every two hours for the 40-minute trip to Domodedovo. One-way tickets cost 26 rubles. East Line Group, which operates the airport, is preparing to allow passengers to check in for their flights at Paveletsky Station, a service Aeroflot would like to introduce at Leningradsky Station.

Aeroflot would not elaborate Friday on the source of investment for the railroad link, saying only that the track will be financed through outside loans.

"We don't have the money to finance it," said Dannenberg.

Likewise, Aeroflot is still looking for an investor to finance the ambitious Sheremetyevo-3 terminal, which it is building to relieve congestion at the Sheremetyevo-2 terminal. The completion date for the new terminal, originally slated for 2003, has been pushed back to 2004. Part of the hold up has been blamed on a dispute between Aeroflot and Sheremetyevo Airport on how to split ownership of and investment in the terminal.

Sheremetyevo Airport is not participating in the construction of the rail link.

Asked for comment Friday, Sheremetyevo spokesman Vladislav Lebedev said: "You should ask Luzhkov, Okulov and [Railways Minister Nikolai] Aksyonenko this question. We haven't been invited."

Lebedev added that the airport welcomes alternative routes.

Yulia Zhdanova, transportation analyst with the United Financial Group brokerage, said although the link would be a positive alternative to the jam-packed highway, the tentative plan has more questions than answers.

"The question is where they will get this money from?" she said. "The idea is good, but how likely is it to be completed on time given the financial uncertainty?"

Zhdanova said the Railways Ministry could be a likely source of financing, adding that the project would be a good investment since it appears to have a good chance of quickly recouping its costs.