Morocco to award rail contracts by June

07 February 2010

Construction is scheduled to begin in June with a completion date set for December 2015

Construction work on the first phase of the $2.5bn high-speed railway between Casablanca and Tangier in Morocco is scheduled to begin this year.

The high-speed train project is part of a wider government plan aimed at promoting economic and social development by upgrading major infrastructure network.

The train will be able to carry 500 passengers at one time with departures scheduled every hour, Mohammed Rabie Khlie, chief executive of Moroccan National Railways, told the Maghreb press agency.

It is not clear which foreign firms have submitted bids for the construction contract or which firm it would buy the trains from.

The new route is expected to reduce the travelling time between the two cities from six hours to two hours and will have the capacity to carry eight million passengers each year.

Work on the high-speed train is due to start in June 2010 and infrastructure works and railway equipment are scheduled to finish at the end of 2014 with the train expected to be fully operational in December 2015.

About 4.8bn Moroccan dirhams ($585m) of the project is being funded by the state, $122m from the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development, $231m from French and other European donations and $1.5bn worth of loans.

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