By Duncan Mackay in Vancouver

February 22 - Sochi is set to pass its target of raising more than $1 billion (£645 million) in domestic sponsorship for the 2014 Olympics and Paralympics when it unveils Russian Railway as its latest Tier One partner here later this week.

Sochi has already raised more in domestic sponsorship revenue than any other Winter Olympics in history with nearly four years still to go before the Games open.

It is a remarkable achievement as the landmark $1 billion figure was only reached at a Summer Olympics for the first time at Beijing in 2008.

Russian Railways (RZD), which is state-owned, have paid $150 million (£97 million) for the deal.

RZD already have a major presence in Sochi House, an exhibit about the 2014 Olympics located Science World here, along with the Games' other major sponsors, including Volkswagen, Bosco Sport, MegaFon, Rostelecom, Rosneft, Sberbank and Aeroflot.

The company, which employs 1.2 million people, is already one of the biggest investors in the massive Sochi project which is transforming the city on the Black Sea.

RZD is building a dedicated railway link to connect the Olympic Park, the airport and the sporting venues at Krasnaya Polyana.

They are also upgrading the city’s railway stations to cater for people with disabilities.

The line is due for completion in the fourth quarter of 2011 and will be able to carry up to 64,000 people a day in each direction.

Four trains will operate every hour at 15-minute intervals during busy periods.

Other plans include building over 2.7 kilometres of single-line track, two 500 metre-long tunnels, about 2.8 km of electric cable, 800m of overpasses and around 1,000m of support walls.

RZD is also considering a plan to make Sochi more accessible by creating a high-speed link between there and Moscow with trains travelling at up to 200 km/h.

This would cut the journey time between the two cities to under 16 hours.

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