21 January 2014 4070

A passenger will get from the center of Moscow to the center of St. Petersburg (650 km) by the fastest modern transport (aviation), at best, within 3 hours. That means at an average speed of 220 km/h, after having suffered fear in the air and hardship in the initial and final stages of this journey: "City — Airport" and "Airport — City". That will also lead to a substantial increase in the cost of such travel, which will hardly be less than 3,000 roubles (USD 50).

A huge railway train of thousands tons weight, loading rails to the limit and literally sucking animals and humans under its wheels, can not drive safely at high speed along the built-up and densely populated areas. Therefore it has to slow down, and even in their boldest forecasts railwaymen plan to get from Moscow to St. Petersburg within 3 hours (average speed of 220 km/h) and for 3,000 roubles.

In string transport, such ride will take 1 hour and 40 minutes (average speed of 390 km/h) at the net cost of 245 roubles (USD 4) for the delivery of a passenger.

Little time of travel is ensured due to not only high speed, but also different transport logistics. Small capacity rail cars — unibuses, — equal by capacity to a small bus, will start often, without a schedule, by fixed-route taxi type. In addition, they will not stop in between — other unibuses will go to the city of Tver on the route, and their final destination will be Tver.

Low net cost of travel (245 rouble/passenger) is due to:

High fuel (energy) efficiency of unbuses. At the consumption rate of 0.43 l/100 passenger×km and diesel fuel price of 35 rouble/liter, the cost of energy will be 98 rouble/passenger. On electrified tracks (more expensive option of construction), the cost of consumed energy can be reduced by 2-3 times;

Low depreciation charges on repair and renovation of rail vehicles (unibuses) due to their low cost (the cost of a seat is up to 750,000 rouble/passenger) and long service life (25 years) — 7 rouble/passenger;

Low depreciation charges on repair and renovation of overpasses and infrastructure due to low cost of construction (99 mln rouble/km — without electrification of a track) and long overhaul periods (50 years) — 71 rouble/passenger;

Small number of maintenance staff, both at stations and on lines, including drivers — 69 rouble/passenger. When using the automated control system, these salary costs can be reduced by half.

All the conventional high-speed routes — railways and magnetic levitation routes — are unprofitable because of both their high construction costs, and high cost of operation. They try to raise profitability by increasing ticket prices, making these services unaffordable for many categories of users. Only string track routes, built by RSW technologies will be highly profitable. For example, on the route "Moscow — St. Petersburg", at the ticket price of only 500 roubles, the income of the operating company will be 255 rouble/passenger. Then, with the volume of traffic of 50,000 passengers per day, annual income will be equal to 4.6 billion roubles and profitability of the high-speed route will exceed 100%.

USD 24,000,000,000 "St. Petersburg — Moscow — Kazan — Vladivostok"

USD 2,400,000,000 "Moscow — Kazan"

Key indicators of the similar high-speed railway "Moscow — Kazan" with the length of 820 km, planned to be built by the Russian government are as follows: the construction will cost 925 billion roubles and some more 315 billion the railwaymen intend to receive as a government subsidy for the operational phase, as the project as a whole is deeply unprofitable. For the same money built can be a string route "St. Petersburg — Moscow — Kazan — Vladivostok", which, at a very low cost of tickets, i.e. being affordable for all categories of the country residents, will, however, bring income of about 100 billion roubles/year.

Anatoly Yunitsky