APPLICATIONS to build a factory able to produce 100 diesel-electric locomotives a year for Indian Railways closed on September 14. Pre-qualified bidders for the joint venture project are to be announced on October 12.

A Request for Proposals is to be issued on October 19, and bidders will have until December 14 to complete their submissions. The project is being handled by Rites on behalf of the Ministry of Railways, which has designated Marhowra in Bihar state as the site of the plant.

The ministry will guarantee to acquire 100 locos a year from the plant for seven to 10 years. Two types are envisaged, one rated at 4 500 hp with a 22·5 tonne axleload and a 6 000 hp version with a 25 tonne axleload. Bidders must have supplied at least 1 000 locomotives over the last 10 years, and 200 or more must have had a power rating of at least 4 000 hp with three-phase AC traction motors and IGBT technology. At least 25 locos must have been supplied with a rating of 6 000 hp or more. As provision of maintenance services may be required, bidders must also show proof that they have maintained at least 100 diesel-electric locos for at least three years.

The successful supplier is expected to have a 74% stake in the joint venture, leaving IR with just 26%.