BRAZIL: Federal railway construction company Valec expects the first section of the North-South Railway, running from Palmas to Gurupi in Tocantins state, to be operational in September this year.

This would be followed by Gurupi – Uruaçu in April 2013 and Uruaçu – Anápolis in September of that year, completing the 855 km between Anápolis and Palmas.

Following his appointment as President of Valec, José Eduardo Castello has discovered that some R$400m of additional expenditure will be required to complete Anápolis – Palmas, including drainage and other rectification work on 210 km and the construction of nine freight terminals along the route. ‘Although the whole line would be ready, there would be nowhere to stop trains to load or unload freight’, Castello told Valor Econômico.

First launched in 1987, work on the North-South project resumed in 2007 when Vale was awarded a R$14bn concession to build the 719 km northern section between Palmas and the Carajás Railway at Açailândia.

As part of what has been described as the seventh-largest transport project in the world with an estimated cost of US$67bn, work is also underway on five sections of the 680 km extension to Estrela d’Oeste in São Paulo state, due for completion by July 2014.