Ruslan Baysarov: Bringing Sakhalin Closer
The SK Most Group of Companies, owned by entrepreneur Ruslan Baysarov, is working with Russian Railways on a unique project in Sakhalin
The railway infrastructure on Sakhalin Island is going to be converted to the standard Russian gauge: the 1,067-mm Japanese track will be replaced with 1,520-mm Russian track. According to experts, in terms of the geography and scale of construction work, the modernization of the island railroad is a one-of-a-kind project. This important venture for the Sakhalin Region is being carried out by the SK Most holding company and is owned by Russian businessman Ruslan Baysarov as well as by Russian Railways. To reequip the railway network, the construction company is reconstructing 53 facilities from Arsentievka to Nogliki and nine more along the Shakhta–Kholmsk–Chekhov route.
The reconstruction of the island's railroad is almost complete. In August, large-scale construction work will be completed on a stretch of over 900 kilometers. Russian Railways is currently shifting track from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to the village of Vzmorye, and specialists are dismantling the Japanese narrow-gauge rail and laying modern Russian rail.
Baysarov’s construction holding has been given the task of reconstructing the bridges that make up the island’s railroad network. Thirty bridge crossings are currently under construction throughout Sakhalin. Almost all of them are being built from scratch. In place of the dismantled, obsolete bridges, the builders are installing modern supports and spans. The largest bridges are being closely monitored by SK Most. The bridge on the 269th kilometer of the route from Arsentievka to Nogliki will weigh about 400 tons when assembled.
According to the schedule, the Sakhalin railway should be completely reequipped by next year. Right now, work between Kholmsk and Shakhta, one of the last reconstructed sections, is being completed. Service to passengers on the new railroad tracks from Kholmsk to Tomari was opened in the middle of this summer.
This year, SK Most plans to complete work on the section from the eighth to the 367th km from Arsentievka to Nogliki. Next year, nine more new facilities will be built on the railway infrastructure section along the Shakhta–Kholmsk–Chekhov route.
Work Is Proceeding on Schedule
According to experts, the reequipment of the Sakhalin railway network is a laborious and technically complex process in and of itself. The company has the ambitious goal of remodeling more than 50 railroad structures, including several dozen bridges, in just a couple of years. It is worth noting that train travel was practically unaffected during construction as the teams carried out the work during well-planned windows of opportunity. Delivering large-capacity construction equipment and bridge structures from the mainland to the island was no easy feat, either. They had to quickly transport about 450 units of machinery and equipment to construction sites. According to SK Most, 600 to 800 workers took part in the construction at different times, and they all had comfortable living conditions.
It should be noted that construction was always on schedule despite unavoidable interruptions in the supply of building materials and equipment due to the often stormy seas. There were some “curious” moments as well as the curiosity of wild animals, including bears, led them to the construction sites.
The vast experience of the employees of SK Most Group of Companies has made it possible to calculate and minimize all risks as much as possible and to take into account climatic quirks as well as other factors that could delay construction. Well-planned logistics has also helped them stick to schedule. Work has been carried out at 20-25 construction sites at the same time with the company employing its equipment at six sites simultaneously to build foundations from bored piles and assembling spans.
Adding to Experience
For the SK Most Group of Companies, the experience they have gained in Sakhalin is unique. The entire infrastructure of the railroad was built by the Japanese and most of it has fallen into disrepair over the past 80-90 years. Bridges had to be repaired on a regular basis to maintain their performance. For example, the bridge over the Gar River on the 264th kilometer that was built in 1930 was completely dilapidated. Consequently, instead of rebuilding Sakhalin's railroad infrastructure, SK Most constructed new facilities from scratch.
However, Ruslan Baysarov’s company is not afraid of taking on difficult tasks. SK Most Group of Companies has been building bridges, tunnels, highways, and railroads as well as port and berthing facilities since 1991. Today, the SK Most Group of Companies includes twelve bridge-building organizations and three tunnel divisions. The company's experienced specialists are ready to start building infrastructure anywhere in Russia within a month. Every new project is a new professional challenge for the company because each has its own unique idiosyncrasies.
The company's wealth of experience includes many achievements, including the cable-stayed bridge to Russky Island in Vladivostok, known throughout the country for being on the 2000-ruble bill. Another point of pride is the construction of the Port of Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula, built under severe Arctic conditions to ensure the year-round transportation of goods along the Northern Sea Route.
The company also has experience working underground. It is now laying infrastructure between the new Okskaya and Nizhegorodskaya stations on the Nekrasovskaya line of the Moscow metro. This project has been notably fraught with difficulties, such as a high population density, buildings, and its proximity to the Moscow Railway.
Ruslan Baysarov’s firm is also now working on the second stage of the Baikal tunnel. This railroad artery will increase the volume of cargo transportation along the Trans-Siberian Railway by 250%. In the future, such an increase in volume will spur the development of the economy and industry of the entire Far East. In addition, the construction of this tunnel is unique for the company since it is 6.7 kilometers long and is being built in an area with 12 tectonic faults and a high amount of seismic activity.
Furthermore, Baysarov’s company is in the final stages of building a cross-border railroad bridge from Nizhneleninskoye in Russia to Tongjiang in China. The highway bridge connecting Blagoveshchensk (the capital of the Amur Region) and the Chinese city of Heihe is also nearly finished. Construction will be completed by the end of 2019, and commissioning is scheduled for Spring 2020.