Russian Railways Minister On Railways Sector Performance And Tasks

At an extended session of the collegium of his ministry Russian Railways Minister Nikolai Aksenenko said Friday that a programme of structural reforms of the Russian railways envisages the introduction of most up-to-date technologies. The RIA Novosti correspondent reports that the minister stressed that joint technological projects would contribute to the consolidation of efficiency and safety of railway transport. He noted that in the last category Russia was the world leader. Aksenenko added that Russia ranked second and third among countries with the most developed railway network. Over the past two years the railways cargo turnover rose by 100 per cent, while in 2000 the passenger turnover exceeded the 1999 level year by 19 percent. The minister noted that in 1998 investment in the Russian railways made up 15 billion roubles, in 1999 -- 38 billion and last year it reached 80 billion. Over the past 4 years the number of railway workers fell from 540,000 to 430,000 people.