SEPTEMBER 21 is due to see the management of three rail networks in Peru transferred to private sector consortia. The government has awarded two 30-year concessions which each include an option for a further 30-year extension.

One grouping, led by Sea Containers and Peruval Corp, will take over Enafer’s 914mm gauge Cuzco - Machu Picchu - Quillabamba route and the standard gauge Ferrocarril del Sur. According to Sea Containers, the Machu Picchu line is a substantial money-maker, unlike the FC del Sur line which connects the ports of Matarani and Mollendo with Arequipa and the high Andes cities of Puno and Cuzco. The other group led by Peruvian firm Oleachea & Co is scheduled to take over the Ferrocarril del Centro on the same date. This links the port of Callao (Lima) and the high Andes.

Sea Containers and Peruval plan to manage their routes through a 50:50 owned subsidiary, PeruRail SA. This will earn revenue by selling train paths to open access operators, and will also buy new rolling stock to lease to the operators. The principal operator will be a sister company of PeruRail SA.

No initial payment was required by the government other than about US$5m for spare parts and office equipment. The infrastructure operators will be expected to hand over about one-third of their access charge income to the government, but during the first five years of the concession payments may be offset by infrastructure improvements.