Egyptian National Railways (ENR) has said it expects to sign a $300m loan and project agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) before the end of May.

The loan will cover the acquisition of up to 100 new diesel locomotives.

Apart from EBRD, the Egyptian rail agency was also previously engaged in funding negotiations with Germany’s Siemens and US’ GE for the locomotives.

According to a source familiar with the transaction, a tender for the rolling stock consultancy contract will be immediately released as soon as loan and project agreements are signed.

The consultant’s role will include the preparation of the request for proposal (RFP) documents.

In a related development, ENR and Egypt’s Transport Ministry are yet to make a decision in terms of the supply of 700 non-air conditioned coaches, which it seeks to acquire.

Russia’s Transmasholding and Hungary’s Ganz Motor and Dunakeszi have formed a joint venture and submitted a technical and financial offer for the contract in 2016. They are bidding against a Latvian company who also offered to finance the project.

However, the financial terms offered by the Russian/Hungarian team were unacceptable and have been rejected, according to the source.

These contracts are in line with Egypt’s plan to reform its rail sector by increasing fleet availability and improving operational efficiencies and reliability. Future plans include the separation of freight operations and the introduction of track-access charges, which will provide a framework for future private sector involvement in the railway market.