Russia’s sovereign wealth fund and a unit of German engineer Siemens have signed an agreement to cooperate on a $4.5bn high-speed rail link between the cities of Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains.
The agreement between the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Siemens Mobility, announced by RDIF at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, is non-binding, and envisages Siemens supplying technology to the line.
RDIF said the 220km line, which is to be called Urals High-Speed Rail, will begin in 2021, with commissioning expected in 2025. Â
Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the RDIF, said: "The project to build a high-speed railway linking Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk, each with a population of more than 1 million, is of strategic importance not only for these regions but also for the whole country. It will help create the third largest urban area in Russia with a population of 4 million people."
Trains will run at 300km/h.
A special purpose vehicle called the Economic Partnership Ural High-Speed Rail was established in March 2016 to take the project forward. It consists of the Chelyabinsk Oblast, the Development Corporation of the Middle Urals, Russian investment group RWM Capital, Chelyabinsk Pipe-Rolling Plant, Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, and the Russian Copper Company.
Image: A foggy morning on Russia’s Ural rail system (Dreamstime)