Billion rubles demanded to revamp railway line to Kazan airport
The operator of the suburban train asks to build a second line to increase the frequency of runs on the route
There is made an attempt to get the railway built in Kazan suburbs in Laishevo District out of years long “deadlock.” Russian Railways agreed with the necessity of updating the infrastructure where airport and suburban trains cannot pass by each other at rush hour because of the one-line railway. “There is positive response to the construction of the second line to untie this hub,” head of Solidarity suburban passenger company Azat Akhmetshin said and added that the costs would total around a billion rubles. Meanwhile, the load on the airport line is growing — two new stations will appear soon here for the Tatarstan State Archive, Russian Post and would-be residents of new microdistricts.
“The suburban train arrives either too early or too late”
The railway “traffic jam” near the exit from Kazan-1 train station’s eastern platform is going to be eliminated. First, the modernisation of this segment was part of the third and last part of a large-scale project aimed to create an urban railway ring, but now it is going to come to the forefront.
The goal is to change the time and frequency of airport trains at rush hour in the morning and in the evening to pick up as many residents of suburban residential complexes as possible on its way. The train covers thousands of people of the Laishevo hub. The current timetable of suburban trains didn’t turn out to be very convenient when it comes to its departure and arrival time. Residents of this area of Kazan anyway have to get to Kazan by bus circumventing railway transport. In a talk with Realnoe Vremya, Director General of Solidarity suburban passenger company Azat Akhmetshin admitted that the current timetable of suburban trains “requires improvements.”
“We know that most residents of South Park need to arrive by 7.30. While our morning train arrives either at 7.06, which is too early, or at 7.58, which is too late,” he said.
The departure time of the evening train is also out of tune with the residents’ work schedule. According to the timetable, it departs at 18.10 when most residents don’t have the time to get to the station after work. While the next train, in contrast, is too late — at 19.45. Nowadays there are eight runs a day to the airport of Kazan. However, the train’s maximum capacity is reached at rush hours, he noted. To compare, the number of people living in South Park is around 6,000.
Why airport trains cannot pass by Arsk suburban trains
What impedes from adapting to passengers’ needs and increasing the frequency of trains? It turned out the timetable cannot change because of the low throughput of the exit line from the station.
Previously, the segment of the route from the train station to Vakhitovo station has historically had one-line railway and can receive one train in one direction. At rush hour, the airport and Arsk suburban trains have to be separated according to time: the eastern platform cannot receive them at the same time. In other words, the obsolete infrastructure in this part of the station doesn’t allow increasing the frequency of runs.
“There is a problem here. It is a one-way segment between the Vakhitovo station and Kazan station,” says Azat Akhmetshin. “Passengers leave Kazan early in the morning and people from Arsk arrive at the same time, while all of them cannot be received at once.”
For this reason, the suburban passenger company offered to start the modernisation of the transport hub now, not postpone it as the last part of the project of the urban railway ring in Kazan.
“We contacted the director of Russian Railways. There is a positive response to the construction of the second line and revamp the infrastructure to untie this hub. The solution needs around a billion rubles,” said the head of the company.
Much money is needed because this line must be connected to the train processing system of the federal passenger company. Also, the bridge on Tatarstan Street in front of the river port needs to be renovated. Despite this, Solidarity plans to two trains at 21-22 pm, said Azat Akhmetshin.
Tikhomirov Kazan Giproniiaviaprom removed from the ring
Talks about the start of construction of the railway ring around Kazan has been lasting for years. Circular traffic is a joint project of Gorky Railway and the republic. When the tender for project documentation was announced, the Tikhomirov Kazan Giproniiaviaprom was recognised as winner. In autumn 2021, vice head of Urban Railways in Kazan Alexander Cheremnov promised the project would start in 2022.
According to him, the republic was almost into the home stretch in the preparation for construction of the first stage of the circular railway. The project of the first stage was ready by then. Cheremnov noted that the launch of circular traffic would allow significantly increasing passenger traffic in the suburbs and the new route would connect different parts of Kazan with the airport — now this is impossible without connection.
As Realnoe Vremya found out, the Tikhomirov Kazan Giproniiaviaprom developed a project, but after remarks of Russian Railways it was given to another organisation for remaking. Head of a transport engineering group of R&D Institute Rushan Minnulin confirmed this information for Realnoe Vremya. The press service of the Tatarstan Ministry of Transport specified that at the moment a branch of the Main State Inspection Department dealt with the project. “The design will end in the third quarter this year,” the department said specifying that the project will have to undergo a state inspection. The price sheet isn’t yet made public.
“Here it is a tough issue related to the division of the territory, the current and newly built infrastructure. Some infrastructure needs to improve, and the border of contact required more time. After this, the first part of the project is expected to begin. It is part of the station Kazan-1 to Kazan-2. The second stage of from Kazan-2 station to Kompressorny with an exit,” explained Azat Akhmetshin.
Now the station has a transport point for connections but without a platform.
Russian Post, State Archive and new microdistricts: another two platforms
Meanwhile, the load on the airport line will only grow. Nowadays there have been prepared framework agreements on financing two new stops on the route, Azat Akhmetshin told Realnoe Vremya. Kazan developer Emil Khusnutdinov’s company started Columbia residential complex on the territory of a former industrial zone. Its area is 87 ha, 10,000 people are expected to live there. The first stage is due to be delivered in 2025. To provide transport connection with the city centre, it is planned to install a new platform together with the suburban passenger company. The station will appear a year before the first block of flats is delivered — in 2024, the developer promised. Also, the railway will help residents in other settlements.
The new station will be built not far from Tekhnicheskaya. A bridge will built above the railway. It will be a direct way to the Kazan railway ring. The route is planned to be extended in the future. At the moment, train intervals are 2-3 hours, which is not convenient for citizens. “The more passengers will use the route, the shorter the intervals. Everything is developing. The residential area will develop, the frequency will increase,” the developer thinks.
According to him, costs on the creation of the station won’t be big, since the railway already exists. Also, modular platforms are now created, only the site needs to be chosen and networks need to be laid, he explained. Also, many new residential complexes can appear along the train route. “This is objectively good. Suvarbuilds# was the first to test this scheme by building South Park platform. Now we want to take advantage of the closeness to the railway. It is profitable for the suburban company too that will increase passenger traffic,” he concluded.
Another platform is promised to be built on this route. A station in Stolbische will be built to service workers of the Tatarstan State Archive and Russian Post.