Wednesday, December 23, 2009

New Rail Link To Facilitate European And Asian Freight

Broad-Gauge Track to be extended to Vienna
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRIA / RUSSIA / SLOVAKIA / UKRAINE – A high level council involving Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways (RZD), his Ukrainian counterpart Mykhaylo Kostyuk and representatives from the railways of Slovakia and Austria has today announced that the involved parties are in the process of selecting contractors to draw up a feasibility study on their proposed construction of a broad-gauge railway between Vienna and Košice in Slovakia.

The selection of the contractors will mark the first step in the various nations plan to link the European rail freight network onto the Trans-Siberian railway so as to provide a viable overland route for freight between Asia and Europe.

Today’s meeting follows on from an agreement which was signed at the end of May agreeing the division of costs for the development and construction of the link.

“This project embodies our approach to developing cooperation not only in railway transport, but in harmonizing transport rights, and providing deeper integration, including between countries of the CIS and the EU”, Vladimir Yakunin said.

With continuing problems involving piracy on the Suez shipping route and proposed high-speed improvements on the Trans-Siberian being considered by RZD it is thought that this link could provide a useful alternative to deep-sea shipping routes between Europe and Asia. Projections estimate that the line could eventually carry up to 40 million tons a year.

(For those looking for further information on rail freight see our Rail Freight Directory)

(pic: Vladimir Yakunin)