‘We are planning to retender the contract,’ says a PTRC official. ‘Expressions of interest will be issued within three months.’ Fewer companies than expected, including France’s Alstom Transport and an Egyptian-led consortium identified as Egyptian Railway Project & Transport and comprising Edilon of the Netherlands and Turkey’s Gunsayil, replied to the request for technical and commercial proposals on 27 October. Seven international companies were originally shortlisted to bid (MEED 4:5:05).

The lack of a government subsidy towards the project may have been a factor in the lack of interest shown by companies in the tender. ‘There should have been a direct subsidy from the government,’ says a project source.

For the new tender, the contract model is expected to remain unchanged although a government subsidy will be offered. ‘The contract is still likely to be retendered on a BOOT basis,’ says the official. ‘For the new contract, the government will pay a subsidy, provide minimum revenue guarantees and acquire the land necessary along the length of the [proposed] line. Companies will have the option to develop the land and stations along the route as well as the terminals at Amman and Zarqa.’