TRENES de Buenos Aires, operator of the Mitre and Sarmiento suburban systems in the Argentinian capital (RBR98 p42), has entered the final stages of renegotiating its 10-year concession with the federal government. In return for a 30-year extension, TBA is willing to pledge investment totalling US$1·8bn, including more electrification and the introduction of air-conditioned rolling stock. Immediate plans include the introduction of an extra-fare, limited stop service between Retiro and Tigre on the Mitre network, now being demonstrated with a prototype refurbished Toshiba three-car EMU.

Also seeking a 30-year extension, Metropolitano has proposed electrification of the San Martín and Belgrano Sur operations, covering a total of 315 km at a cost of US$1·5bn. The last five of 20 General Motors GT22CW-2 locos arrived in Buenos Aires on February 16. Of these, 15 have been leased from Mitsui & Co Ltd for the Roca and San Martín routes at a total cost of US$45m; the US$11m cost of the five 1000mm gauge units for the Belgrano Sur has been met from government funds.

Negotiations are also continuing over the transfer of responsibility for Metrovías’ 20-year concession for the Subte metro to the Buenos Aires city authorities (RG 3.98 p143). The federal government has been ready to provide US$380m for investment as stipulated in the concession agreement, but was hoping to pass the Line A modernisation funded by a US$100m World Bank loan to the city. The legal separation of the Urquiza commuter route from the concession has yet to be finalised, and Metrovías is renegotiating its station modernisation commitments. o