Saeed Sufi, the KRG’s transport minister, says the regional government is studying a project put forward by unnamed Austrian and Russian companies to build and finance the network.

The two companies are due to visit the region and put forward more detailed proposals for the project.

Sufi does not say if the proposed railway would be linked to the wider Iraqi network.

A $250m refurbishment programme was launched in 2007 to overhaul the country’s railways.

Iraq recently announced that it plans to reopen the rail line between Baghdad and Falluja by mid February, with the country’s western minerals railway also due to reopen soon (MEED 2:2:09).