Regular freight rail services via the 19-km-long Crimea Bridge, which connects the peninsula with mainland Russia, will kick off on July 1, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday, according to Interfax.
“The opening of regular rail services should have a positive effect on supplies to the Crimean market, its saturation with high-quality and affordable goods,” the president said.
In December, Putin opened railway traffic on the Crimea Bridge and took a ride in the driver’s cabin on the first Crimea-bound train from Saint-Petersburg.
Automobile traffic across the bridge, which became the longest not only in Russia but in all of Europe, began in May 2018.
The construction of the bridge kicked off in February 2016, less than two years after the Crimean people overwhelmingly voted to reunite with Russia in a referendum. The link was crucial for Russia, as the first direct link from the annexed peninsula to mainland Russia.
Meanwhile, Russian Railways CEO Oleg Belozerov said the company plans to finalize drafting cost estimating documents for construction of the high-speed railway line between Moscow and St. Petersburg in 2022.
“St. Petersburg Governor (Alexander) Beglov and I have applied to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking to support and enable us to draft the Moscow-St. Petersburg line. We obtained consent and currently plan to draft cost estimating documents by 2022,” he said.