Argentina names firms to build high-speed line

Argentina has selected a French-led consortium to build the first very-high-speed railway line in Latin America. The line will cut the journey time between Buenos Aires and Cordoba from 14 hours to three.

President Cristina Fernàndez Kirchner announced this week that Alstom and its partners IECSA, Emepa, Isolux Corsan have been chosen for the project to build a fast connection between Argentina's principal cities. The contract is expected to be finalised in the next few months.

The line will link Buenos Aires, Rosario and Cordoba, a distance of 710km. It will be served by eight double-deck very-high-speed trains, each with a capacity of 500 passengers, operating nine return trips every day at speeds of up to 320km/h.

This turnkey project will involve the construction of the infrastructure, including seven stations and 780km of tracks, electrification, signalling (ERTMS level 2), the supply of rolling stock and maintenance.

Alstom, the consortium leader, will undertake the overall management and engineering of the project, the supply of rolling stock, signalling, communication systems, electrification and maintenance. The trains will be manufactured in France and assembled at the Alstom site at La Plata, in the province of Buenos Aires.

IECSA will be in charge of civil works with Isolux Corsan and EMEPA will participate in the construction of the tracks with Alstom.

"The Buenos Aires-Rosario-Cordoba line constitutes the largest very-high-speed rail project since the KTX project in Korea. It represents an essential component in the economic development of Argentina," said Philippe Mellier, president of Alstom Transport.

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