Iraq’s National Investment Commission (NIC) is inviting companies to submit technical and financial bids by 2 February for the contract to build the Karbala monorail.

Companies are also invited to submit plans on funding the project.

The Karbala monorail will be 18 kilometres and will comprise 20 stations. The 15km first phase of the line will connect Baghdad Road, Al-Bedaa railway station, Karbala University and Babylon Gate.

When the project is complete, trains will run at speeds of up to 90km an hour.

The NIC first announced plans to develop the monorail in July 2011. It is aimed at transporting the religious tourists and pilgrims that visit Karbala each year to visit shrines and monuments of religious significance. The network will be able to transport about 500,000 passengers a day when complete.