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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends,
I give my sincere congratulations to all railway workers on their professional holiday. This is a special year because it was exactly 175 years ago that the first train from St Petersburg arrived in Tsarskoye Selo, starting regular passenger traffic.
I want to congratulate all railway workers on their professional holiday and thank them for their efforts and their dedication to their jobs. I express particular thanks to the Gorky railway line’s workers, who were top of their sector for performance in 2011. I know that Nizhny Novgorod will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Gorky railway line this year, and I congratulate you on this event.
The railway sector is not just one of our economy’s most vital sectors, but forms a fundamental part of the system supporting our entire industry. It was so in the nineteenth century, when the railways began to form as an independent sector within the economy, and it continued with the sector’s intensive development throughout the twentieth century. The sector continues develop today, in the twenty-first century, based on new technology and advances of course.
We will always remember what an important part the railway workers have played in our country’s history, in developing and opening up the Far East and eastern Siberia. We will never forget the feats the railway workers accomplished during the Great Patriotic War.
Engineers, train drivers, track workers, railway builders – these are all professions that have always been held in particular esteem in our country. It is especially important that we preserve these traditions today in order to strengthen the skills handed down from one generation to the next, maintain interest in the railways sector, and strengthen our ‘railways families’, which have always been in good number here in Russia. This is especially important now, when we are paying particular attention to training for our new young professionals.
The railway workers continue to do a lot to develop the sector. We can see their results not just in the growing traffic volumes, especially freight traffic, last year and over the first half of this year, but also in the introduction of new technology such as the launch of high-speed passenger traffic.
The railway sector contributes much to our economic development in general. This was so in the past, as I said, and remains the case today. Development is active in the east, as we can see by such events as the opening of the Kuznetsovsky railway tunnel, and the general development underway in the sector in this part of the country.
A lot of effort has gone into improving access to our ports on the Baltic and Black Seas. The railways are also playing a big part in the preparations for the big international events we will be hosting, such as the APEC summit in Vladivostok, the World Student Games in Kazan, and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Today, as we mark this holiday, I stress that the authorities will continue to give the railways sector their attention and will of course keep in mind the social issues too, the need to raise the social status of everyone engaged in this vital sector of our economy.
I am sure that the railway workers will continue to give top-grade performance in their work and give the very best of themselves to the tasks ahead.
Once more, I congratulate you and wish you the very best.
Thank you very much for your work.