Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I hesitate to comment, but I shall. My position is somewhere between yours and poemless's. I too have the impression that Russia is wasting its oil wealth. But it is not true that there is no spending on railways.

Russia is indeed large, with one of the largest railway network lengths in the world (three times France's, with much greater investment needs), for an economy about the same size as France's. So there is a lot of work to do. But Russia under Putin did in fact re-start rail investment: the TransSib electrification was finished, the BAM's is ongoing, both lines are upgraded (including expensive tunnels), new lines are built both in Siberia and the European North. There are major new orders for locomotives delivering from this year. Around Moscow, new multiple units made appearance on suburban lines, and some lines were upgraded. In fact, there is special attention to the three airport links, all of which are now in service - thus in fact, a train line directly to Sheremet'yevo 2 (from Savyolovskaya) operates since June 10 this year (timetable in Russian).

poemless is ridiculing the mention of high-speed railways. I disagree partly because in Russia, long-distance travel is significant, as is air travel which high-speed railways could also supplant. Now in fact, there were plans for a high-speed network from Yeltsin's time, but time and again, the plans were scrapped, with the argument that upgrades on the conventional network are more urgent. But the latest is that the plans were digged up again, and at last the first batch of Siemens's broad-gauge Velaro-R trains (related to German Railways' ICE-3 trains) reached the construction phase last year (also see photo), and the eight units are expected to connect St. Petersburg, Moscow and Nizhni Novgorod at 250 km/h from 2009. OK, dedicated high-speed lines are still only in discussion.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 05:10:27 AM EST
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