Tenders for the civil works contract were to be issued to the six prequalified international consortiums in mid-July. However, the SRO has revealed that not all the six groups have yet received their certification to take part in the bidding from the Municipalities Ministry.

Although the documentation is prepared, the SRO decided to delay beginning the process until after the August holiday break.

“It is a simple administrative delay. Everything is ready to go once the holiday is over,” says an SRO official.

The civil works package is the first of three main contracts to build the $6bn rail link.

It will be followed by tenders to build stations along the 444-kilometre-long route, and a third package to supply rolling stock, build the track and carry out operations and maintenance work.

The SRO says it hopes to issue requests for proposals for all three contracts within six months (MEED 11:6:08).