The government’s Railway Executive Board (REB) has issued a tender for the design of a new 450-kilometre high-speed line between Libya’s second city, Benghazi, and Tobruk, close to the Egyptian border. This line is likely to cost close to $2bn to build.

Tripoli hopes, in time, to complete a railway line along the entire length of its Mediterranean coast, from Tunisia to Egypt.

It is also seeking to appoint international consultants to supervise construction of three rail projects already under way in the country, including two phases of the $4bn 900-kilometre railway along another part of the coast.

China Railway Construction has started work on the double track high-speed line between the coastal cities of Khums and Surt, while Russian Railways is extending the line from Surt to Benghazi.

A third consultant will be appointed to the $1bn, 800-kilometre minerals railway running north to south between Misurata and Sabha, which will also be built by China Railway.

An official at REB says that the government would prefer to appoint a different consultant to each of the three packages. The consultants appointed will work alongside the German group De-Consult which has been attached to the project for four years.

REB says it hopes to make appointments on both tenders by early November. A further project, extending the high-speed line from Khums to Tripoli, is still at the design phase.