Morocco will begin work on a Dh20bn ($2.47bn) high-speed railway project this year linking its two major cities, the Transport Ministry has said.

The railway will link the city of Tangier to Morocco’s commercial capital Casablanca and is expected to be operational in December 2015.

Of the total cost, nearly half will be used to create the line infrastructure, $5.6bn for railway equipment and the remaining $4.4bn for the rolling stock.

The project is part of the government’s Dh33bn ($4bn) plan to upgrade the national railway over six years beginning in 2010.