ON MAY 6 the HSL Zuid project office at the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works & Water Management announced that four consortia had been shortlisted to construct and maintain the Amsterdam - Antwerpen high-speed line. The government is to fund the civil engineering works and a private-sector Infrastructure Provider will supply and maintain the track, power supplies, signalling, and other equipment.

Five consortia had submitted prequalification bids by April 1. The four shortlisted groups will participate in consultations starting this month, which will lead to the submission of final tenders at the end of this year. Negotiations with one or more of the bidders will lead to the award of a 30 year concession by mid-2000. The four groups are: