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Business

Russia to pump a fortune into modernizing rail lines

Russia has announced it will spend huge resources on an overhaul of its extensive railroad system. The Kremlin said the modernization scheme was vital to boost the economy, also in the Asian part of the country.

The Russian government confirmed Friday it was planning to invest heavily in the modernization of the country's railroad network, one of the world's largest.

The Kremlin announced in a press release it would spend some 450 billion rubles (10.6 billion euros, $14 billion) on two rail and one big new road project between now and 2017.

Railroad overhaul efforts would focus on the world's longest line, the trans-Siberian route, Moscow said. It's almost 9,300 kilometers (5,778 miles) long and connects Moscow with Vladivostok on the Pacific coast. Trains using the line transport 120 million tons of cargo annually.

Strategic move

The government said it would also pump resources into a new high-speed rail connection between Moscow and the large city of Kazan, some 800 kilometers away from the country's capital.

The rest of the allocated investment sum would go towards a gigantic new highway to be built around Moscow to ease traffic congestions in the city itself, the Kremlin explained.

Russian officials said road and rail infrastructure modernization was pivotal in preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 Soccer World Cup in the country. The overhaul is also of particular importance in the far eastern Asian parts of the nation, where the government has had problems in cranking up economic growth, resulting in a large number of people moving westwards.

hg/slk (dpa, AFP)