The deputy head of Iran Railways had announced that a $2.4bn letter of credit was ready to be drawn for work on the high-speed rail line between Tehran and Isfahan, the Mehr News Agency reports.
Noorollah Beyranvand said the money, being loaned by the Export-Import Bank of China, was ready to be paid to China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), the company due to carry out the work.
Other companies involved are Khatam Al-Anbia Construction, which is owned by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Germany’s Siemens, and Italferr, the consulting arm the Italian national rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato.
Iran signed a contract with CREC to build Iran’s first high-speed line in 2015, and agreed the loan in July 2017. The project is expected to cost at least $1.8bn.
Trains will travel on the 375km line at speeds of between 300 to 350km/h.
Work on the scheme, which will link the Iranian capital with the Imam Khomeini International Airport, Qom and Isfahan, has already begun, and completion is set for 2021.
Abbas Akhoundi, the former minister of roads and urban development, ordered the redesign of the route to make it more efficient. The new plan includes the relocation of stations in Tehran, Qom and Isfahan.