TWO CONSORTIA have been shortlisted for a concession to develop suburban services around Mexico City. The two groups were expected to lodge their partnership documentation by the end of March, with technical and financial bids due in May.

According to the transport ministry, the contract is expected to be awarded at the end of May. One consortium is led by CAF of Spain, with civil engineering firm Elecnor and Renfe as operations advisor. The other is led by Alstom, with Mexican contractor ICA, banking group IXE and RATP International.

The long-planned project to serve the growing suburban communities outside the federal capital district would make use of existing rail alignments (RG 5.99 p301). These are largely redundant following the break-up of FNM and abandonment of long-distance passenger trains. The federal government has agreed to fund 50% of the costs, with the winning consortium expected to raise the remainder through a mix of equity and debt finance.

The first concession covers 47route-km, to be developed and operated over 30 years at an estimated cost of US$600m. Work will start with a 27 km ’core route’ from the FNM passenger terminus at Buenavista to Cuautitl