ON JANUARY 24 the Argentinian government announced that it had awarded a joint venture of Benito Roggio and Herso a contract to restore the former Mitre route between Río Primero in Córdoba province and Sumampa in Santiago del Estero, closed to traffic since 1978.

The 170m pesos project includes repairs to the formation and structures, replacement of earth ballast with crushed stone and re-sleepering over 70% of the route, as well as installing signalling equipment.

The federal government is working with the province of Córdoba on a three-stage project costing 100m pesos to restore passenger service to the 147 km ex-Belgrano route between Cruz del Eje and the provinical capital, Córdoba.

The Ferrocentral joint venture of Nuevo Central Argentino and Ferrovías is expected to begin operations in the second half of 2007, possibly using rolling stock acquired by the federal government from Portuguese Railways for a total of 116·8m pesos. A second batch of seven diesel locos, three diesel railcars, four passenger cars and 11 three-car EMUs was unveiled at the Port of Buenos Aires on February 1. The EMUs are to be deployed on the Roca suburban network, with the locos and coaches earmarked for the San Martín route.