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Argentina launches £3bn rail investment

ARGENTINA IS to embark on a £3bn programme of rail investment, opening up opportunities for overseas firms.

Passenger train operating companies are re-negotiating for longer franchises against the promise of major modernisation, British Embassy commercial officer Charles Longstaff said this week.

A backlog of investment over the last 25 years means projects totalling £3.8bn can be realistically expected in the next decade. Most of this will come from works newly proposed under the franchise extensions, said DTI export promoter Oster Bayne.

Passenger journeys have more than doubled since privatisation, triggering the need for extra investment. Business opportunities include buying into the train operating companies, supplying rolling stock, signalling and telecommunications systems and providing engineering and construction expertise particularly in electrification and tunnelling, said Longstaff.

New 30 year franchises for two of the four companies, TBA and Metrovias, have been approved by Congress and are awaiting confirmation by presidential decree, expected any time. The other two, Ferrovias and Metropolitano, are awaiting approval from the congressional transport committee.

Details of the first two franchises are expected to take a few months to finalise. A period of six to nine months of financial and technical studies will then be needed, with tenders coming out in about a year.

Further information from Oster Bayne, tel (01582) 834066, e-mail oster.bayne.dti.

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