Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (Nat) has extended the deadline to 20 December for the contract to supply 20 new trains for Line 1 of the Cairo metro.

Nat first invited companies to submit bids for the contract by 4 September. This was then extended to 19 October. The second extension has been given at the request of some prospective bidders, says a source close to the project.

The 43-kilometre Line 1 runs from Helwan to El-Marg and has been in operation since 1989.

Nat is currently building Line 3 of the metro network and is inviting companies to submit prequalification documents by 25 October for the construction contract for phase three. Phase three is broken down into four packages, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D. Line 3 will be 40km long when complete.

In February, work on phases one and two of Line 3 stopped temporarily due to the political uprising that led to the resignation of former President Hosni Mubarak. Work resumed in May.

Phase one involves the construction of a 5.5km section of track with five underground stations. Work is being carried out by a consortium of France’s Alstom and local Orascom Construction Industries. Phase one of line is scheduled for completion in October 2011.

Phase two of line 3 involves the construction of a 7.2km section of track with four underground stations. France’s Vinci leads the consortium that won the civil engineering contract for phase two in June 2010.

France’s Systra is the consultant on the expansion of Cairo metro.