Today the Sakhalin gauge is 453 millimeter narrower than the national gauge, said the RJD. Also, the narrow-gauge rolling stock has become obsolete and is in need of replacement.
Thanks to the ferry crossing Vanino /port on the Western shore of the Tatar Strait, separating the mainland and Sakhalin/ -Kholmsk /Sakhalin's port on the Eastern shore of the Tatar Strait/, the region is linked to the Russia's national railway network. The gauge difference necessitates cargo time & effort consuming transhipment.
"The switchover to the national gauge will help resolve many economic and technical problems. Removal of the gauge-changing point will let cargo-owners cut by over 15 percent the expenses on the Vanino-Kholmsk line and the railway administration reduce the car-turnover time and working expenses", the RJD believes.
Minding the importance of updating railways to develop the transport infrastructure of the island and its contacts with the mainland, the project has been included in the Russian Transport Strategy as a priority.