France’s Alstom has won a deal to supply trains for the first phase of Rabat’s $2.5bn high-speed rail network.

The company will sign a contract covering rolling stock for the railway line linking Tangier and Kenitra by the end of the second quarter of 2010, a company source tells MEED. The deal is part of a wider scheme to link Casablanca and Tangier.

Alstom submitted technical and commercial proposals for the deal to Morocco’s national railway operator Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) in December 2009. It is now the only company left in contention for the deal.

“Currently, negotiations between ONCF and Alstom are ongoing,” the source says “The signature of the contract could happen in spring 2010.”

The first phase of the network involves building a 200-kilometre high-speed rail line along the country’s Atlantic coast between the cities of Tangier and Kenitra. The link will be used by trains running at 320km an hour and should be in operation by December 2015.

Tenders for an initial civil works deal, which involves reinforcing the ground where the track will be laid, are due to be issued in the second quarter of the year, with construction is expected to begin in June. Tenders for major construction deals on the railway line will follow in early 2011.

A second phase will involve building a high-speed track from Kenitra to Casablanca, a further 130km along the coast (MEED 10:2:10).

The ONCF plans to build a high-speed network connecting all the major cities in the country by 2030.