Before the opening ceremony, the President rode along the bridge in the train driver’s cabin, inspected the entire railway section and also spoke with the bridge builders.
Vladimir Putin also familiarized himself with the information on the development of transport infrastructure in the south of Russia, in particular the Crimean Railway.
The 19-km Crimean Bridge is the longest bridge in Russia and Europe. Starting on the Taman Peninsula, it runs along a 5-km long dam and Tuzla Island, crosses the Kerch Strait and ends on the Crimean coast. The bridge ensures uninterrupted traffic between Crimea and other Russian regions.
The transport crossing consists of a motorway and a railway running parallel to each other. The bridge’s motorway section opened in May 2018, and freight traffic was launched in the autumn of 2018. There are plans to start operating freight trains in the summer of 2020.
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Speech at the opening of Crimean Bridge to railway traffic
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
Today we have a pleasant and a very important occasion. It is important for Crimea, Sevastopol, the entire south of Russia and the whole of Russia, because, of course, such infrastructure facilities as this tremendous bridge will influence the entire economy.
However, I would like to tell you that today, we are not launching the traffic but restoring it, because originally train traffic to St Petersburg – and the first train will be from St Petersburg to Sevastopol – was launched 145 years ago.
Over the course of Russian history, this train service has been interrupted only three times: during the 1917 October Revolution, during the Great Patriotic War and in 2014. You have restored it, although, the route is different, but it is a solid and reliable route. Congratulations on this. This is a great occasion.
You know, there is also another important thing: not just that millions of cars have used the bridge since it was opened or that millions of passengers will travel this way next year. This is also a great occasion. Almost 14 million passengers and 13 million tonnes of cargo are expected next year.
There is something more important. It is more important that your hard work, talent, perseverance and determination have proven that Russia is capable of implementing infrastructure projects at the global level. This is not just the largest bridge in Russia, but also the longest in Europe.
You have shown that we can carry out such large-scale projects using our own technological base. Without exaggeration, this gives almost everyone confidence that we will be able to implement such projects in the future.
Thank you very much for your persistence and your talent, thanks to everyone: builders, engineers, scientists, archeologists and environmentalists. This is a great, enormous and powerful team uniting people from all across Russia from the Far East to its European part.
I congratulate you on this occasion and wish you success and all the best. Happy New Year!
Broadcast of the Tavria express passenger train leaving St Petersburg for Sevastopol.
Good luck on your journey!