German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn has signed a €17bn ($26bn) joint venture contract with Qatar to build rail and underground lines in Qatar and Bahrain.

The contract will create a new company called the Qatar Railways Development Company, with 49% owned by Deutsche Bahn and the remainder by Qatar’s state-owned company Qatari Diar.

The project involves building a 300km metro system for capital city Doha covering 98 stations and four lines.

The plan includes building a 180km, 350kmph high-speed train line to Bahrain and an overall 325km rail network for freight traffic.

The project is expected to finish in 15 years.