Under the latest tender, TUSRC has asked companies to prequalify for the design, manufacture and technology (DMT) provision of 455 metro cars, equivalent to 65 trains. Existing rolling stock on the lines is Chinese-made and came at a price of about $500,000 a car, suggesting the value of the new contract to be worth at least $230 million.

The second DMT tender involves the provision of 160 double-decker cars, equivalent to 16 trains, as well as 38 electric locomotives. Chinese double-deckers already in use on the Tehran-Karaj line cost about $1 million each, while the locomotives cost a little under $2 million apiece, suggesting the total value of the tender to be in the order of $240 million.

Under the contract specifications, the local share will be 51 per cent, which means most of the cars must be manufactured inside Iran, in turn requiring a production line to be set up. Companies that have bid on Iranian rolling stock projects in the past include Wagon Pars Tehran, a 51:49 joint venture of the state-owned Industrial Development & Renovation Organisation (IDRO) and China North Industries Company (Norinco), Canada’s Bombardier, Germany’s Siemens and China International Trust & Investment Corporation (CITIC).

Industry sources in Tehran say that cars built with European technology would be much more expensive and despite their advanced quality, TUSRC has a record of choosing the cheaper Chinese rolling stock.