Iran is expected to sign a €2.2bn ($2.4bn) contract this month with China-based China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation for the contract to electrify the 926km railway that links the capital Tehran to Mashhad.

The deal, two-thirds of which will be financed by the Chinese government and one third by the China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), was finalised in May, according to a local media report.

Once completed, the project will bring the operational speed of trains on the route to 200 kilometres an hour and reduce journey between Iran’s two largest cities to four and a half hours.

Travel time by air between the two cities is estimated at 1 hour and 10 minutes by air and more than 10 hours by car.

Mapna Group will be the main local sub-contractor for the project.

Mapna is the main partner of Germany’s Siemens in Iran.

Siemens and Mapna have earlier signed a contract for the supply and of 50 electro-diesel locomotives that are understood to operate on the Tehran-Mashhad route.

In April Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and Russia’s RZD International signed a contract for the electrification of the 495-kilometre railway line from Garmsar to Inche Bouroun in Golestan near the border with Turkmenistan.

The contract was valued at $1.28bn. It will be financed by Russian export credit.

Iran is undertaking work for close to 3,000km of railway line, including two new lines.

These include a 440km line called Gharb West rail, which extends from the City of Arak in central Markazi Province to the Khozravi Crossing in Kermanshah Province, which borders Iraq.

Mainline rail projects under construction or upgrade

Project

Length (km)

Qazvin – Rasht – Astara

205

Tehran – Isfahan high-speed line*

410

Tabriz – Miyaneh

200

Tehran – Hadean – Sanandaj

411

Shiraz – Bushehr

442

Gorgan – Bojnourd – Mashhad

638

Miyaneh – Ardabil

175

Gharb (West) Rail: Malayer – Khosravi Border Crossing (Kermanshah)*

440

Total

2,921

*New lines under construction

Source: Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company