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Oct 13, 2011

Demonstration train makes run between Rajin and Khasan

A demonstration train made a run between Rajin in North Korea to Khasan in Russia on 13 October 2011. The run marked the end of the first stage in reconstructing the railway line between Rajin and Khasan. A meeting was held in the "House of Friendship between Russia and North Korea" near the border railway station of Tumangan in North Korea to celebrate. Taking part in the celebration were Valery Reshetnikov, Senior Vice-President at Russian Railways, Mikhail Zaichenko, Head of Far Eastern Railways, Ju Jae Dok, North Korea’s Deputy Minister of Railways and other officials.

"This stretch of railway line is part of a pilot project to restore the entire Trans-Korean Main Line for its integration into the Trans-Siberian Railway. This includes developing a major transit hub at the port of Rajin," said Valeriy Reshetnikov.

In the last three years, experts from Russian and Korean railways and the builders have completed a considerable amount of work. To date, a new 32-km combined-gauge track for handling trains using both the 1520mm broad-gauge track and the narrower 1435mm track has been laid on the stretch between Rajin and Tumangan on the border with Russia and major track repairs carried out on 20 kilometres – work on replacing the track superstructure will continue even after the demonstration train’s run. Switching points and additional receiving-departure lines have also been completed and a number of stations reconstructed. Work has also begun in the tunnels, main communication and electric centralisation lines have been laid and drainage facilities restored.

The next step will be the construction of a modern cargo terminal at the port of Rajin. Russian coal for export will be the first commodity to be shipped along the reconstructed line​​. The capacity of the new infrastructure is designed to handle up to 5 million tons of coal.

At the same time, a study is also being carried out to assess the feasibility of using the newly-built infrastructure for the trans-shipment of containerised cargo from South Korea and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region with access to the Russian railway network, as originally planned.

Michael Zaichenko pointed out that to ensure that the projected freight volumes going forward can be handled, it will be necessary carry out a major upgrade of the infrastructure between Baranovsky and Khasan, which link the Trans-Korean Main Line with the Trans-Siberian Railway.

Achieving this aim will require the construction of sidings and the reconstruction of stations, lengthening receiving-departure lines, opening previously suspended sidings, overhauling track at a number of station-to-station blocks and installing modern power and electrical equipment. Completing this work, however, will increase the carrying capacity of this stretch to 17 million tons per year.

The total cost of the project to reconstruct the Khasan - Rajin railway line and the construction of the container terminal at the port of Rajin is estimated at 8.3 billion roubles.

***

The project began three 3 years ago, in October 2008, when Russian Railways and North Korea’s Ministry of Railways signed an agreement to cooperate on the project. A joint venture, RasonKonTrans, was then set up, with the Russian side holding 70% of the new entity’s charter capital and the Korean side the remaining 30%.

In 2009, RasonKonTrans began the practical implementation phase of the project and now handles both the project management and the coordination of construction. RasonKonTrans also signed a 49-year lease on the railway line between Tumangan and Rajin with the company Tonkha, which is owned by North Korea’s Ministry of Railways.

Financing for the work will be provided by the charter capital of the joint venture and loans the JV will attract based on the project’s business plan.

 

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