The total value of the contract is expected to be Roubles 20.8bn ($US 348m) plus VAT and the closing date for bids is April 16.

The line will serve 15 stations including Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod and Cheboksary, with a Moscow – Kazan journey time of around three-and-a-half hours. The line is forecast to carry 10.5 million passengers per year in the first year of operation.

According to RZD the new line will be Russia's largest public-private partnership project.

Last the Russian and Chinese governments signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a strategic partnership and cooperation for design, construction, maintenance, supply of equipment, investment and project financing.