Russia’s state-owned railway company, OJSC Russian Railways, will shortly tender the job of surveying and project planning for the new 770km high-speed railway line from Moscow to the eastern city of Kazan.
It hopes foreign companies will bid for the work to prepare what it says will be the largest infrastructure project in Russia today.
The tender will be held on 16 April and whoever wins the work will have to do it for the maximum contract price of approximately $346m (20.79bn roubles).
Later, the new rail line will eventually extend another 970km eastward to Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, which is located at the eastern limits of European Russia.
Announcing the tender, Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin (pictured) said the project was intended to help Russia catch up with other developed countries in transportation.
"The development of high-speed rail is a fundamentally new step in the modernisation of the Russian transport system, one which countries such as Japan, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, China and many others have already taken," he said in a company statement.
The new line will stimulate the economy and spur growth for small and medium-sized businesses, he said, adding: "We are confident that both Russian and foreign companies with experience in designing and constructing high-speed railway lines will take part."
The Moscow-Kazan line will pass through seven Russian regions with a total population of over 25 million people. It will have 15 stations and will cut the journey time between the two cities from approximately 13 hours by car to just 3.5 hours.Â
Russia Railways predicts that the new line will carry 10.5 million passengers a year. The company expects the line to be delivered through a public-private partnership.
Image: Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin (Kremlin.ru)