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2014 Winter Olympics construction projects of Russian Railways

Posted: 8 June 2012 | Vladimir Yakunin, President, Russian Railways | No comments yet

In February 2010, Russian Railways and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee signed a partnership agreement, which gave Russian Railways official status as the general partner of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Organising such a major event necessitates a high level of arrangements, and transport accessibility plays one of the key roles.

Within the framework of preparations for the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Winter Paralympics 2014, Russian Railways is playing a key role in creating a new modern transport infrastructure. The company prides itself on developing and carrying out projects that are unique, not only for Russia, but with regard to the world practice too.

In total, Russian Railways is constructing 157km of routes in the area of the Olympics. Regardless of the fact that most construction sites lie in the mountains with challenging engineering-geological profiles, Russian Railways is building 12 mountain tunnels, with a total length of 30km. The company is also building six infrastructure facilities, two of which are already completed.

In February 2010, Russian Railways and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee signed a partnership agreement, which gave Russian Railways official status as the general partner of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Organising such a major event necessitates a high level of arrangements, and transport accessibility plays one of the key roles.Within the framework of preparations for the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Winter Paralympics 2014, Russian Railways is playing a key role in creating a new modern transport infrastructure. The company prides itself on developing and carrying out projects that are unique, not only for Russia, but with regard to the world practice too.In total, Russian Railways is constructing 157km of routes in the area of the Olympics. Regardless of the fact that most construction sites lie in the mountains with challenging engineering-geological profiles, Russian Railways is building 12 mountain tunnels, with a total length of 30km. The company is also building six infrastructure facilities, two of which are already completed.

In February 2010, Russian Railways and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee signed a partnership agreement, which gave Russian Railways official status as the general partner of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. Organising such a major event necessitates a high level of arrangements, and transport accessibility plays one of the key roles.

Within the framework of preparations for the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Winter Paralympics 2014, Russian Railways is playing a key role in creating a new modern transport infrastructure. The company prides itself on developing and carrying out projects that are unique, not only for Russia, but with regard to the world practice too.

In total, Russian Railways is constructing 157km of routes in the area of the Olympics. Regardless of the fact that most construction sites lie in the mountains with challenging engineering-geological profiles, Russian Railways is building 12 mountain tunnels, with a total length of 30km. The company is also building six infrastructure facilities, two of which are already completed.

In 2009, Russian Railways finished the construction of railway freight terminals in the Imeretin Valley. It was the first site constructed within the framework of the Government Programme for Olympic venue construction. The purpose was to facilitate a building process of venues and other sports facilities for the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi. It would be extremely hard to create sports facilities without railway freight terminals which are capable of handling 15mn of construction material cargo annually.

On 14 February 2012, with the opening of a railway terminal in Sochi Airport, Russian Railways enabled regular passenger railway traffic between the airport and central Sochi. This is the second of the planned construction projects already accomplished. Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways; Dmitry Kozak, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation; Jean-Claude Killy, Chairman of the IOC Coordination Commission for Sochi 2014 and other official guests took part in a festive event celebrating the opening of this terminal.

The project of intermodal railway transport organisation in Sochi is based on the experience of organising intermodal transport in Moscow, and relies on technical solutions in the field of railway transport.

There are now Russian trains running on this route, but in 2014 it is planned to replace them with Siemens Desiro Rus (Lastochka) trains, which have been designed to cater for the needs of teams, sports fans and passengers with reduced mobility.

There is a modern railway terminal in the airfield complex, which provides optimal visual and acoustic information regarding train schedules, rest rooms and evacuation alerts. For example, paths, platforms, banisters and elevators are all equipped with sensor information signs for visually impaired passengers.

The new 2.8km railway route, linking Adler and the airport, runs through a very restrained urban landscape and crosses an elevation. In order to get over the difficulty of crossing such complicated terrain, the project included the construction of two tunnels (164m and 368m), three flyover bridges (with a total length 750m) and a bridge over the river Bolshaya Hirota (44m).

The most ambitious of the six projects is a combined road-rail route between Adler and the mountain-climatic resort of Alpika-Service. Within the framework of the project, the plan is to build a second slab track, Sochi-Adler- Vesyoloye. This route is expected to be put into operation/commissioned in April 2013. Thanks to this combined road-rail route, the journey from the Olympic park in the coastal area of Sochi to Krasnaya Polyana, would take less than half an hour. Maximum capacity of the railway route is expected to be approximately 8,500 passengers an hour, and 11,500 passengers an hour on the road.

To achieve such impressive figures it is necessary to construct 48km of electrified single-track railroad with double-track inserted sections, and 46.5km of road traffic route with six interchanges linking this route with existing ones across the Mzymta river. Two stations with passenger terminals, Estosadok and Alpika- Service, will serve as connection hubs for motor transport and cableways.

In one section this combined route will pass through the Sochi National Park. In order to reduce site area and preserve this unique wild landscape, Russian Railways – together with Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund – made the decision to build bridges and flyovers instead of a ground causeway. The combined route includes 71 bridges and flyover bridges totaling 37km in length. This decision ultimately reduced the cutting area of woods at con – struction sites from 7.5 to 2 hectares.

Plate-laying for the route between Adler and the mountain-climatic resort of Alpika- Service (48.5km) will be completed by August 2012. In November 2012, it is planned to open a new railway station in Adler.

Taking into account the complicated engineering-geological profile of this area, the main challenge for this combined route is to drive six tunnel complexes. A special task team which comprises experts from Amberg Engineering Ltd (Switzerland) was created for providing constructors with engineering support.

This task team functions on a regular basis, delivers weekly and monthly risk assessment reports, and provides recommendations for tunneling. The task team works in accordance with recommendations from the International Olympics Committee (IOC), and relies on instructions from the government of the Russian Federation.

The most challenging site, due to its complicated terrain conditions, is a complex of tunnels starting from 23km of the route. It includes a road tunnel of 3.2km, a railway tunnel of 4.6km and a so-called maintenance and escape gallery. In 2011, this Russian Railways project won the ‘Major Tunneling Project of the Year’ award at the International Tunneling Awards in Hong Kong; it was recognised as the largest and the most complicated in terms of tunneling.

Another project carried out by Russian Railways especially for the 2014 Olympics is to reinforce the railway route between Tuapse and Adler. To increase capacity of 103km of this route, it is planned to add 30km of railway bed on nine sections. Once completed, this project will enable the transportation of 60% of air passengers – more than 86,000 per day – during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The increase in capacity will affect the volume of materials transported for Olympic sites, which is why Russian Railways is launching sections in stages, one-by-one.

As a finishing touch, a new pavilion for the Russian Railways health resort Mys Vidny is planned to be built by winter 2012. Forty-nine new rooms will increase the accommodation capacity for Olympic Games visitors.

Taking into account the fact that the Paralympics will take place soon after the Olympic Games, Russian Railways considers it highly important to customise the transport infrastructure for passengers with limited mobility. For this reason, the company is modernising the passenger terminals in Dagomys, Sochi, Matsesta and Khosta. These terminals will be equipped with ground and subway crossings, wheelchair ramps and elevators. Paths, platforms, elevators and banisters will have sensor information signs for visually impaired passengers. Timetables, destination signs and bars with rolling letters will be equipped with additional light and sound signals for visually and hearing-impaired passengers. It is also planned to customise booking office windows, rest rooms and toilets with regard to physically challenged passengers. The deadline for the reconstruction of all these facilities is April 2012.

With its projects in Sochi, Russian Railways is contributing to the creation of a barrier-free environment. Russian Railways has requested the development of coaches with special compartments for people with limited mobility, including stair lifts, which allow entry from both low and raised platforms. The compartments are larger than normal and are fitted with supportive belts. Switches, sockets and callbuttons are located close to the floor and have signs with embossed text and special sound devices. An automated communication system enables passengers to call the conductor in the case of an emergency. The toilet room in this type of coach is also larger than those in regular coaches, and is fitted out with special rails and light and sound panels.

All construction projects for the 2014 Olympics Games are notable for one factor – absolute environmental safety – primarily because of Sochi’s location. This city is a resort zone and has a number of so-called ‘protected environmental areas’. All projects are subject to a strict ecological impact assessment. In order to protect the unique nature of the Sochi region, Russian Railways specialists developed a broad range of protection measures for ground and surface waters, soil and air. The company carries out waste treatment and soil rehabilitation and conducts constant environmental monitoring. All measures to reduce the ecological impact of construction are taken.

Environmental protection is also assured with the use of modern technologies. For example, a closed cycle of water use prevents the leak of industrial waters, and to separate the water from dirt and sand, it is first clarified in special reservoirs. The next stage requires the use of special absorbent materials aimed for cleaning the water from oil products. Then there is a so-called biological stage of purification, with the use of bacteria. After that sludge settling is organised, before the sludge is disposed. And finally, the water is purified with the help of UV installations.

In 2010, the Russian Federal Service for Ecological, Technical and Nuclear Supervision (Rostechnadzor) carried out check measure – ments at Russian Railways construction sites, and certified that thanks to this detailed clarification process, the water is close to pure drinking water standard, and is good for floral and faunal forms.

Between 2009 and 2011, to minimise the environmental impact of construction and preserve woods and wildlife in the Sochi National Park, Russian Railways planted more than 35,000 box trees, along with other protected herbs and trees. Additionally, over the same period, more than 2.5 million hatchlings of Black Sea salmon, carp and sterlet were released into the Mzymta and Shakhe rivers. And to preserve Georgian box (or buxus colchica) trees on the territory of the Sochi National Park, Russian Railways reconsidered a construction project of combined rail-road route, instead opting to construct bridges and flyover bridges, as detailed previously in this article.

Facts and figures

  • The total length of routes constructed by Russian Railways in the area of the XXII Olympic Winter Games and the XI Winter Paralympics 2014 is 157km.
  • Total number of new tunnels is 17, including 11 railway and three road tunnels.
  • During the tunneling, with the use of machines with shields of 13m in diameter, divergence was only 3mm.
  • Thanks to this combined road-rail route, the journey from the coastal Olympic park to Krasnaya Polyana will take less than half an hour.
  • Bridges and flyovers constitute the largest part of this route. Their total length is 38km.
  • Within this project, Russian Railways has built the first cable bridge in southern Russia. The longest span of this bridge is 312m, and total length amounts to 807m.
  • Trains for Adler-Krasnaya Polyana and Adler-Sochi Airport will depart every 15 minutes. During the Olympic Games, long distance trains will arrive and depart every 10 minutes.

 

About the author

Vladimir Yakunin was appointed President of Russian Railways by the Government of the Russian Federation in June 2005.

Mr. Yakunin graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Mechanics as a Mechanical Engineer in 1972 and began his career as a Junior Research Scientist at the State Institute of Applied Chemistry. After completing military service in the Soviet Army, he worked as an Engineer and Senior Engineer at the Administration of the State Committee of the Council of Ministers of the USSR for Foreign Trade and was also Head of Department at the A. F. Yoffe Physics and Technical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.

Between 1985 and 1991, Mr. Yakunin was Second and then First Secretary of the USSR’s Permanent Representative Office at the United Nations. He was then Chairman of the Board at the International Centre for Business Cooperation before becoming Head of the North-Western Federal District Inspectorate of the Senior Control Department of the President of the Russian Federation.

Mr. Yakunin became Deputy Minister of Transport in October 2000 and first Deputy Minister of Railways in February 2002. In October 2003, the Board of Russian Railways unanimously appointed Mr. Yakunin as First Vice-President of the Company.

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