ON DECEMBER 26 the governments of France and Spain announced that TP Ferro has been selected as preferred bidder for the concession to design, finance, build and operate the 44·4 km route between Perpignan and Figueres. It was hoped to sign the 50-year concession contract within a matter of weeks, enabling construction to start during the first quarter of 2004.

The winning bid puts the cost of construction at €952m, and TP Ferro has requested €540m in subsidy which according to the Spanish Ministry of Development is ’substantially lower’ than the amounts sought by the other bidders (RG 8.03 p475). The European Union would be expected to provide at least 10% of this public support, with the remainder divided equally between France and Spain. Shareholders in TP Ferro would provide €102·9m and the consortium would also borrow to fund the project.

Including an 8·3 km twin-bore tunnel across the frontier, the new line is due to open within 60 months of contract signature. Designed for freight trains as well as high speed passenger services operating at over 300 km/h, the route will be equipped with ERTMS and will be controlled from Barcelona.



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