Russian Railways announced that the construction works including tunneling works of the new Baikal tunnel are completed. This is the second Baikal rail tunnel, with a length of 6.7 km and is situated at the administrative border between Irkutsk Region and Buryatia. The second Baikal tunnel is one of the most important projects under Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway modernisation programme.
Construction works on the new railway tunnel began in October 2014 and will be put into commercial operation in 2019 allowing a significantly increase in freight transport services, from 13 million to 32.5 million tonnes per year.
“Most importantly, freight traffic capacity will increase two and half times. This is, no doubt, a big event in the life of our country and the development of our country’s transport system in this most important eastward direction,” Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, said.
The modernisation plan for the two Russia’s most important railway lines started in 2013 and, when it will be completed, the freight traffic will increase from 67 million tonnes to 125 million tonnes per year.
Last year, the Presidency asked Moscow government to allot USD 1.7 billion for the modernisation of Baikal-Amur and Trans-Siberian railway lines, as the financial allocation between 2017 and 2018 had a value of USD 2.6 billion, of which, National Wealth Fund provided USD 1.76 billion and USD 880 million were covered by other sources. Between 2019 and 2023, Russian Ministry of Transport and Russian Railways will allot USD 8.8 billion.