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Siemens Tipped for $7Bln Moscow Region Tram Project

The Moscow region is in line to get a new 245-kilometer-long express tramway, connecting it with the capital.

German engineering conglomerate Siemens is interested in building an express tramway in the Moscow region, the region's governor, Andrei Vorobyov, told Vedomosti.

"At the St. Petersburg [International Economic] Forum we held the first negotiations about this project with Siemens — this week there is a trip to Düsseldorf planned for a more detailed elaboration of technical issues," Vorobyov said in an interview published Tuesday.

The total cost of the light rail transit system will amount to between 240 billion and 300 billion rubles ($7 billion to $8.8 billion), Vorobyov said. While this is "a lot of money," the investment is necessary in provide for the region's increasing population, and light rail transit, which costs about $24 million per kilometer to build, is substantially cheaper than adding additional metro lines, the governor said.

According to a presentation by the Moscow region Transportation Ministry, the line will be 245 kilometers long with a total of 45 to 50 stations, creating essentially another "ring" connecting Moscow and the Moscow region.

A spokesman from Siemens' Russian division confirmed that the company is interested in the contract, adding that Siemens could supply low-floor tram cars and propose solutions for power supply and traffic control, Vedomosti reported.

Chinese companies have also expressed "a serious interest" both in building the lines and supplying the trams, Vorobyov said. While a financing plan has not yet been reached, the project will be developed on the basis of concession agreements, and the government will step in to finance some portion of the costs, he added.

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