CHILEAN state railway EFE was due to select last month a preferred bidder for a US$103m contract to upgrade and maintain signalling, electrification and telecommunications equipment under its 2003-05 investment programme (RG 10.04 p660). Work is to begin soon after contract signature in February 2005, and should take three years to complete.

Bids have been submitted by Siemens and two consortia, one comprising Sice-Enyse and Cam and the second Abengoa and Telvet. Described by EFE General Manager Eduardo Castillo as ’one of the most important initiatives for the future of the company’, the first phase of the project includes the installation of optic fibre cabling, automatic signalling and automatic road signals at 30 level crossings on the Santiago - Chill