Russian Railways is to get the largest single loan ever given by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as the bank has approved a $500m unsecured loan to the government-owned rail company.

Russian Railways will use the money to restructure freight operations and improve sector regulation. The money will be also be used to restructure balance sheets and for various other reforms that began in 2001.

This ten-year loan brings the total EBRD investment in Russian Railways to about $1.2bn.