Russian Railways and the Austrian, Slovakian and Ukrainian railways have signed an agreement to form a joint venture (JV) for the broad-gauge line extension of the Trans-Siberian rail line, to connect the surrounding regions to the railway systems of Central Europe.

The project is valued at approximately $4–5bn and will be funded by each country proportionate to their section of the line.

The project aims to connect the railway systems of Central Europe to the regions crossed by the Trans-Siberian line for attracting freight shipments to the Asia, Russia and Central Europe route.

The broad-gauge line will extend from Kosice in Slovakia to the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The JV was formed after the completion of a pre-project feasibility study which was signed in April 2008.

The respective rail companies have agreed to look into the technical and financial feasibility of the new railway lines with narrow and broad gauges and upgrading the existing infrastructure.