L’Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) is pressing ahead with plans to build a high-speed rail link between Casablanca and Agadir. The government has still to decide how the project will be financed.

Consultants have been invited to submit offers by 28 June to carry out a detailed feasibility study and technical designs for the first portion of the network linking the 57 kilometres between Casablanca and Settat in the centre of the country. Firms have also been invited to submit bids by 19 July for the 160 kilometres stretching from Settat to Marrakech. ONCF is aiming to complete the first portion of the programme by 2010.

The entire 500-kilometre link from Casablanca to Agadir is due to be completed by 2015 and will cost about MD 22,000 million ($2,500 million). France’s Systra completed the original financial and economic impact studies.