A consortium comprising China Railway Group, the National Transportation Engineering Design Institute of Moscow, and Nizhny Novgorod Metro Design has won the RUR 20 billion (US$ 405 million) preparatory contract for the Moscow–Kazan segment of the Moscow–Kazan–Yekaterinburg high-speed rail link in Russia.

The contract is for geotechnical investigations, surveying and preparation of design documents for the 770 km link. China Railway Group said it was in negotiations for the construction contract, and said it hoped make an announcement regarding this by the end of May.

The total cost of the scheme is put at RUR 1.07 trillion (US$ 21.5 billion). With a maximum design speed of 400 km/h, the railway is expected to cut journey times between Moscow and Kazan to 3.5 hours from the current 14 hours.

The link is part of a strategic infrastructure plan unveiled by the Russian government in 2008. The client, Russian Railways, hopes to complete this section of the line in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

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