COSTA RICAN rail administration Incofer invited bids on August 22 for a 25-year concession to restore and operate the 300 km Ferrocarril del Atlantico (RBR97 p52). Bidders have been given three months to inspect the property and submit final tenders by November 28. Various firms are in discussion with Incofer, and the government is confident of getting several offers.

The Atlantico concession covers 170 km of main lines linking San Cristóbal and Ley River to Limón, and around 120 km of branches serving the region’s agricultural centres. Principal traffic prior to the suspension of services in June 1995 was export bananas to the port of Moín. As well as the right to rehabilitate and use the infrastructure, the concessionaire will be allocated a mix of state-owned assets, including 15 diesel locos, 545 wagons, and the workshops at Limón and Siquirres.

Bidding terms for the second concession, covering the 150 km Pacifico network linking San José to the port of Caldera, are to be announced before the end of this year. Incofer President Lic José Francisco Bolaños Arquin says ’the concessioning process will bring major benefits through the efficient private-sector operation of rail services which meet the real transport needs of Costa Rica.’ o