Russian Railways and the Chinese Ministry of Railways have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop high-speed rail lines in Russia.

The deal includes improving the speeds of the existing rail lines in Russia as well as building new high-speed (160kmph) and very high-speed routes (up to 350kmph).

Under the deal, the two countries will jointly set up a working group of qualified specialists by December 2009.

The deal is part of Russian Railways’ Developing Rail Transport strategy, which envisages a 17-fold increase in the existing 650km of high-speed passenger rail network by 2030.

The plan includes building additional trunk lines on various routes to carry freight, passenger and suburban trains, with special tracks for high-speed trains.