Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) has signed an agreement with Germany’s Siemens Mobility to develop the RUR300bn ($4.5bn) Ural High-Speed Rail project.

The project involves constructing a 220km-long double-track high-speed rail link connecting the cities of Chelyabinsk and Yekaterinburg in Russia.

It also includes building four railway stations (Balandino and Koltsovo airports, Snezhinsk and Sysert), ten intermediate stations and station complexes, as well as a high-speed rolling stock depot.

Building four traction substations and a control building for Ural High-Speed Rail are also part of the overall project works.

“It will help create the third largest urban area in Russia with a population of four million people.”

RDIF CEO Kirill Dmitriev said: “The project to build a high-speed railway linking Yekaterinburg and Chelyabinsk, each with a population of more than one 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 four million people.”

Construction for the project is scheduled to begin in 2021, with commissioning expected in 2025.

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Once operational, trains will run on the high-speed line at a speed of 300km/h.

As a step to develop the rail link, a special purpose vehicle called Economic Partnership Ural High-Speed Rail (EP UHSR) was established in March 2016.

The EP UHSR is responsible for the preparation of the project, including procuring necessary funds and devising a strategy for implementation.

It currently comprises six participants, comprising Chelyabinsk region, Development Corporation of Middle Ural, RWM Capital Investment Group, Chelyabinsk Pipe-Rolling Plant, Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works, and Russian Copper Company.