Iran plans to electrify Tehran-Mashhad railway in joint venture with a Chinese financier, a railway official announced on Saturday. Manager of the Electrification Project of Iran's Railways Qassem Saketi told FNA that his department is now "obtaining the necessary licenses for implementing the project through 85 percent of foreign finance". Saketi said the remaining "15 percent will be financed by the (Iranian) government". He noted that project will be implemented within the framework of the engineering, procurement, construction and finance (EPCF) contract in a 42-month period. Saketi said once the project is accomplished, "the passenger capacity of Tehran-Mashhad railway will be increased from the current 14 million passengers per year to 35 million". He explained that the electrification project will increase the cargo capacity of Tehran-Mashhad railway to 10 million tons per year as well. The electrification project will shorten the interval of travel between Tehran and Mashhad to 6 hours from the current minimum 12 hours as the train's top speed will hit the 200 km/h maximum. Last week, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi underlined that his upcoming visit to China would mainly focus on looking for a Chinese financier for the country's Miyaneh-Tabriz railway. "We are looking for a financer for this national project and this will be a topic of my discussions during my (upcoming) visit to China on Tuesday," Akhoundi said in Tabriz. He explained that Iran imports most of it railway needs, and said, "We have purchased 3,000 kilometers of railway from Turkey and India to complete the country's railway system. Some 180km of the 200km-long Miyaneh-Tabriz railway is under construction and constructing the remaining route will be started in the near future. Once the project is complete, the Tabriz-Tehran railway distance would be reduced to approximately 5.5 hours. Also last week, Akhoundi said that Miyaneh-Tabriz railway will connect Iran to Europe. Akhoundi who was visiting a phase of the construction of Tabriz-Miyaneh double-rail project reiterated that the project is aimed at a promotion and enhancement of the Iran-Europe transit route. The roads and urban development minister said that the improved double-railway can be converted into an electrical one, in which case the speed of the trains using it can increase up to 200 Km/hour. There are seven tunnels, 21 long bridges for passenger trains which can travel at the speed of 160 Km/hour and cargo trains at 100 Km/hour that can be increased up to 200 Km/hour speed for electrical trains. Some 15 million passengers travel on Tehran-Tabriz route, 94 percent of whom choose to use the roads, 4 percent take a flight, and only two percent travel on train. The current length of Tehran-Tabriz road is 597 kilometers and its railroad is 736 kilometers long.