The National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) is examining expressions of interest from more than 40 contractors for the project, which will involve the construction of a 4.5-kilometre underground section between Ataba and Abbassiya, including five underground stations and a light repair shop. Ataba station will act as a junction between the new rail link and line 2, which runs from northern Cairo to Giza in the southwest.

The French Interinfraconsortium and Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation– both of which have done work on lines 1 and 2 – have indicated that they are interested in working on line 3. The first phase of the project will be tendered in five packages: signalling, civil works, power supply, track work and rolling stock.

The second phase of line 3 will run the 6 kilometres from Abbasiya to Heliopolis. The next phases will entail extending the line westwards to Imbaba. When completed, the 33-kilometre metro line will connect the western districts of Cairo with the international airport.

Preliminary and basic designs for the first two phases of line 3 have been drawn up by France’s Systra. The French transport consultancy has also drawn up a masterplan which recommends the expansion of the metro system to eventually include up to six lines.