Iraq will invite bids shortly to build a $3bn passenger and freight rail network around capital city Baghdad, the Transport Ministry has said.

The railway would link all the railway lines heading to the provinces as well as the neighbouring countries, significantly reducing congestion on the city’s existing railway.

The project, expected to finish in four years, involves building two principal passenger railway stations –.one in Baghdad’s west and another in the east.

The railway is estimated to carry 23 million passengers and 46 million tonnes of freight annually.