Work on the final part of Libya’s $7.9bn coastal railway has stalled due to the violent clashes in the country.

Dorsch Afrique, a subsidiary of Germany’s Dorsch Holding, is the consultant carrying out the feasibility study. However, work has now stopped.

“Dorsch has stopped the work because of force majeure and has moved out the employees,” says a spokeswoman from Dorsch Holding.

“The continuation of work depends [on] the political development and remains to be seen.”

Libya’s Railway Executive Board was due to approve the feasibility study for the final part of the railway soon. The $2bn high-speed railway will run between Benghazi and Tobruk in the east of the country (MEED 29:11:10).

The final design of the line is expected to be complete in about 18 months to two years. Dorsch Afrique will also supervise the construction tender process. Trains will run on diesel initially, but will be electrified later.

Dorsch Afrique is also working on the design of 150km of high-speed track running from Tobruk to Umm Saad on the Egyptian border.

In 2008, Russian Railways won the €2.2bn ($2.9bn) deal to construct a high-speed line along the Mediterranean coast from Sirte to Benghazi. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2012. China Railway is working on $2.6bn-worth of rail projects in Libya, including the high-speed track between Khums and Sirte.

Protests against the Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi have been ongoing since 18 February. Qaddafi has retaliated by cracking down on protests, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths. A resolution has now been drafted by the UK, France, Germany and the US that calls for an arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze against Qaddafi.