Beijing-Moscow Direct Rail Back On The Agenda As The Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye Amur River Bridge Is Set To Open

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The romance of the Trans-Siberian railway from Beijing to Moscow is set to receive a boost as a new bridge—part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative—will now connect China and Russia’s railway systems and is set to open by the year end. The China-Russia Tongjiang-Nizhneleninskoye Bridge connects Tongjiang, a city in China’s far northeastern Heilongjiang province, with Nizhneleninskoye, a town across the border with Russia, along the Amur river.

The cross-river bridge is 2,215 metres long, of which 1,886 metres is on the Chinese side. The double track-laying work for the bridge has now been completed, with the bridge expected to be operational by the end of this year.

The bridge links China’s northeast railway network with Russia’s Siberian Railway and will play an important role in further enhancing economic and trade exchanges between the two countries. The route is expected to boost bilateral trade in mineral and energy resources between the two countries. While iron ore is expected to be the main product transported across the bridge, the connectivity will also strengthen China’s oil and gas imports from Russia. The bridge is expected to serve as an international goods transportation channel with an annual shipment volume of 25 million tonnes and 1.5 million passengers. The bridge itself is 2.2 km long, while the corresponding track infrastructure is 19.9 km long. Totals costs, split between China and Russia amounted to US$355 million.

Industrial Parks and a Special Economic Zone are also being constructed close to the bridge on the Russian side and will have direct access to the railway. These are expected to open next year.

The opening of the bridge will also shorten the rail trip between Beijing and Moscow by 809 kilometres and save 10 hours from the current 5 days travelling time.

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