China Railway Group team wins $1.6 bln Hungary high-speed rail contract

SHANGHAI, Nov 25 (Reuters) - A consortium led by China Railway Group (CRG) has been awarded a 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) contract to build the Hungarian section of a railway linking Budapest with Serbia’s Belgrade, in China’s first high-speed rail win in the European Union.

Three firms - CRG’s China Railway International Group, a subsidiary of national operator China Railway Corporation and the Hungarian State Railways - will form a consortium to construct the 160 kilometre route, CRG said in a statement on Wednesday.

The railway, which will be 350 kilometres long with the Serbian portion, will be completed in two years and will be able to accommodate trains travelling up to 200 kilometres per hour, it said. The Chinese firms will account for 85 percent of the consortium, it said, without providing further details.

China, Hungary and Serbia first agreed in 2013 to cooperate on a railway between the two European countries. On Tuesday, China signed financing and construction deals with the two countries on the sidelines of a summit but did not provide details.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during the Tuesday summit between Chinese and central and eastern European leaders that the country was willing to provide more flexible funding conditions as long as they used Chinese equipment and products.

Fresh from building the world’s longest high-speed rail network, China has been heavily promoting its high-speed rail expertise to other governments, and has bid for projects in the United States, Mexico and Thailand. ($1 = 6.3877 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)