France’s Systra has won the project management contract for the civil engineering work on the first phase of Morocco’s $2.5bn high-speed line between Casablanca and Tangiers.

Systra leads a consortium that will now manage and design the track between Kenitra and Tangiers so that it will be a high-speed line.

This work is scheduled to take a little less than three years to complete.

Other companies in the consortium include Systra’s Moroccan subsidiary Systra Maroc and other local consulting firms.

In March, France’s Alstom won a deal to supply trains for the first phase of the high-speed rail network (MEED 23:3:10).

The company will sign a contract covering rolling stock for the railway line linking Tangier and Kenitra by the end of the second quarter of 2010. The deal is part of a wider scheme to eventually link Casablanca and Tangier.

The first phase of the network involves building a 200-kilometre high-speed rail line along the country’s Atlantic coast between the cities of Tangier and Kenitra. The link will be used by trains running at 320km an hour and should be in operation by December 2015.

Tenders for major construction deals on the railway line will follow in early 2011.

A second phase will involve building a high-speed track from Kenitra to Casablanca, a further 130km along the coast. Morocco’s Office National des Chemins de Fer (ONCF) plans to build a high-speed network connecting all the major cities in the country by 2030.