TURKEY: Eight consortia have submitted prequalification bids for a contract to upgrade TCDD's existing railways in Istanbul as part of the Marmaray cross-Bosporus project (RG 5.04 p251).

Five bidders are due to be shortlisted this month to tender for Contract CR1, which covers upgrading of the Sirkeci - Halkali and Haydarpasa - Gebze lines which will be linked by the Marmaray tunnel now under construction. The process also covers Contract CR2 to supply rolling stock for the new cross-Bosporus suburban service.

The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide €650m to help fund the upgrading, and an initial €200m loan agreement was signed last September. Work is due to start later this year for completion in 2010. Contract CR1 covers renewal of track, overhead power supplies, signalling and communications, together with modernisation or replacement of the existing stations and construction of new rolling stock depots.

Bidding to prequalify are Bechtel with Enka, Heitkamp and Alarko, Alstom Transport with Marubeni, Ansaldo with Astaldi, Bombardier and Gama, Mowlem with Yüksel and Parsons, Mitsubishi, and Siemens with Yapi Merkezi.