A CONSORTIUM INCLUDING Bombardier Transportation, AMEC Spie and SIS (a subsidiary of Spanish construction group Sacyr Vallehermoso) has been awarded a €192m turnkey contract to build a three-line LRT network totalling 15 km in the Italian city of Palermo.

The contract includes detailed design, civil works, mechanical and electrical systems and rolling stock, with the consortium also responsible for commissioning and maintenance over a four-year period.

Work is due to start in May, with Line 1 due to be completed in August 2009. This will run for 5·6 km from Stazione Centrale to Roccella, serving 15 stops and operated with nine LRVs to offer a maximum capacity of 3000pass/h. Line 2 from Notarbartolo station to Borgo Nuovo (4·8 km with 13 stops) is due to be completed in December 2009. It will share a fleet of eight LRVs with the 4·9 km Line 3 from CEP to Calatafimi; with 16 stops, this is due to be completed in April 2010.

Total project cost will be €235m, of which €129m will be provided by the Italian government and €88m by the European Investment Bank in the form of a loan to the city. Municipal transport authority AMAT will provide €18m to cover maintenance costs. The bi-directional 100% low-floor LRVs being supplied by Bombardier at a cost of €2·9m each will be 32·5m long, carrying 62 seated and 188 standing passengers.

The light rail project forms part of a €2bn public transport investment programme for Palermo that also includes a 17·6 km automated light metro costed at €1·08bn (RG 10.05 p591). The first section of this would run from Oreto to Notarbartolo (7 km) at a cost of €535m. SIS has been awarded a €665m contract to double-track and build nine new stations on RFI’s 26 km route from Palermo Centrale to Carini, where the branch to Punta Raisi Airport diverges. A 3 km link from Piazza Giachery to Notarbartolo with four stations has been costed at €185m. This would be served by Minuetto EMUs operating every 10min on a circular route.