The Libyan government is reviewing a feasibility study for the estimated $2bn high-speed railway line between Benghazi and Tobruk in the east of the country.

Dorsch Afrique, a subsidiary of Germany’s Dorsch Holding, is the consultant carrying out the feasibility study and is considering several alternatives to the alignment of the railway, including coastal, desert and mountain options, says a source at the firm. This will result in the railway line being between 440 kilometres and 480km in length.

Libya’s Coastal Railway
  Value Status
Sirte-Benghazi $2.9bn Construction
Khums-Sirte $2.6bn Construction
Benghazi-Tobruk $2bn Feasibility study
Tobruk-Umm Saad n/a Feasibility study
Khums-Tripoli n/a Under planning
Source: MEED

The source expects Libya’s Railway Executive Board will approve the feasibility study soon and once finished, the consultant can move on to the surveying and geological study before embarking on the preliminary and final designs. The final design of the line is expected to be complete in about 18 months to two years. Dorsch Afrique will also supervise the construction tender process. Trains will run on diesel initially, but will be electrified later.

Dorsch Afrique is also working on the design of 150km of high-speed track running from Tobruk to Umm Saad on the Egyptian border.

These projects are the final part of Libya’s plans to build a $7.9bn high-speed railway line that will run along the Mediterranean coast connecting Tunisia and Egypt through Libya’s main cities.

In 2008, Russian Railways won the €2.2bn ($2.9bn) deal to construct a high-speed line along the Mediterranean coast from Sirte to Benghazi. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2012. China Railway is working on $2.6bn worth of rail projects in Libya, including the high-speed track between Khums and Sirte (MEED 7:2:08).

The client for Libya’s railway development is the Railway Executive Board which is also planning to extend the line westwards from Khums to Tripoli.

Aside from its high-speed projects, Libya is also planning to develop a metro in Benghazi. Tender documents are currently being prepared and this project could start to move forward in 2011. A 104km metro network in Tripoli is also planned. The first phase will be the red line that will run 41km from the airport to the centre of Tripoli and then east towards Tajura.