Prospective bidders include France’s Alstom, Germany’s Siemens, China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), CTIC of China and Bombardier of Canada. Other firms interested in the project are understood to come from Brazil, India, Japan and South Korea. Several local firms are also planning to submit proposals. The client is Tehran Urban & Suburban Railway Company (TUSRC).

Companies may bid to carry out the construction of one or both lines. Final proposals are due to be submitted by 11 January 2003. Bidders will need to submit their own financing proposals.

Industry sources say companies are now forming consortia with potential local partners to act as contractors and with international banks to arrange financing for the project. According to the tender specifications, at least 51 per cent of the total works of the scheme will need to be carried out by local firms. The credit is scheduled to cover a period of 20 years, with full construction set to last eight years followed by a 12-year repayment phase.

The metro expansion programme will see lines 3 and 4 adding 37 kilometres and 24 kilometres respectively to the existing network. About 24 kilometres and 22 of line 3’s 32 stations will be located underground. Line 4 requires the construction of 19 kilometres of underground track and 21 of the 22 stations will be underground.