Ruslan Baisarov is increasing the capacity of the BAM
The SK Most group of companies, more than half of which is owned by Ruslan Baisarov, is completing the construction of the second line of the Baikal tunnel, which will almost double the capacity of the Lena–Severobaikalsk BAM section. The volume of investments in this strategic project is estimated at 35 billion rubles.
An Additional Boost from Baisarov
The first single-track tunnel at the junction of the Buryat and Irkutsk regions was built in the mid-1980s, and it can no longer cope with current levels of traffic; only 15 pairs of trains can pass through it. Due to steep ascents and numerous turns, freight trains cannot move independently; they have to be pushed by special locomotives.
The new tunnel was built on a much more level slope, which will drastically reduce operating costs, but, most importantly, the tunnel is equipped with a double rail gauge, so annual freight will increase from the current 13.2 million t to 32.4 million t. At a length of about 6.7 km, it is one of the largest manmade structures in the Russian Federation.
The second Baikal tunnel is being laid by Baisarov’s SK Most. Baisarov is one of Russia’s richest businessmen, with a fortune of $900 million in 2018 according to Forbes. He has been the controlling shareholder at SK Most since 2016, and he also heads the board of directors. After the increase in Baisarov’s stake in Most, work on the strategic BAM project received an additional boost. Deadlines for construction have already been announced: trains will start running on the new line this fall.
Vladimir Putin called the construction of the Baikal tunnel “a big event.” The president congratulated miners with “great, very important, complex and very necessary work done with excellent results and incredible accuracy,” noting that the modernization of the BAM and Trans-Siberian is “the fastest payback project in the development of the entire transport system.” The Russian president noted that the Baikal Tunnel is being built by equipment used primarily for the construction of Olympic facilities in Sochi.
According to experts, he is talking about the LOVAT RM 394DS tunnel-boring complex, which can break through the extremely strong Baikal cliffs. The LOVAT RM 394DS is unique in that its powerful rotor pulverizes the rock and the mass of ground is immediately released onto the surface, followed by highly precisely setting the tunnel with reinforced concrete blocks. It dug up to 12 m per day. According to Director General of JSC STROY-TREST (part of the SK Most group of companies) Mikhail Gutnikov, the ground there is idiosyncratic due to its heterogeneity and viscosity, so “the digging process is difficult and it takes more time to plan the dig; the cutting tool is constantly worn down on the abrasive rock.” SK Most will employ more than 400 people and over 100 units of mining equipment and road-construction machines to build the tunnel.
Baisarov Considers Elegest–Kyzyl–Kuragino an Important Link
The rich experience of Baisarov’s SK Most will come in handy during the reconstruction of the old Baikal tunnel. In addition, his company JSC TEPK is participating in a large investment project for the development of the Elegest coal deposit in Tyva.
“This project will largely depend on the construction of the Elegest–Kyzyl–Kuragino railway line, which is the main infrastructure link in the production and logistics system for the integrated development of the Elegest coal deposit,” said Mr. Baisarov, noting that infrastructure restrictions are usually a key problem in the development of coal deposits, as well as in eastern Siberian as a whole.
Select an article of interest:
Tell us about our article to your friends,
sharing a link in a social network
and agree to the processing of personal data. Read more