Following an unsuccessful first round of tendering, Arica port authority EPA expects on August 25 to announce its preferred bidder for a contract to restore the 205 km of the Arica - La Paz Railway between the Chilean port and the Bolivian border (RG 1.09 p7). Five bidders including Comsa and Azvi have expressed interest in the contract.

Eurotunnel Chairman Jacques Gounon has said the company is ‘looking carefully’ at submitting a bid for High Speed 1 when the UK government puts it on the market following the break-up of London & Continental Railways (RG 6.09 p13). Eurotunnel believes it will be in a strong position to bid for the high speed line between London and the Channel Tunnel because ‘we have a lot of infrastructure management experience’. One of Euro­tunnel’s priorities is to secure access for continental-sized wagons at least as far as London.

The province of San Juan has signed an agreement with Argentina’s railway infrastructure authority ADIF to re-open the 160 km San Juan - Mendoza route to passenger traffic, expected to cost US$70m. Services would be operated with ex-RENFE DMUs (RG 7.09 p9), also under consideration to restore passenger service on the 259 km between Lincoln in Buenos Aires province and Realicó in La Pampa.

Transnet is to invite private sector interest, probably early in 2010, in operating South Africa’s branch lines, many of which have seen no traffic for a number of years. Acting chief executive Chris Wells says that ‘strategy has been developed’ in collaboration with the Department of Public Enterprises and is awaiting ratification by cabinet. It is envisaged that concessionaires would own their own rolling stock as well as the branch line in each case. At certain times they might be permitted to run their own trains on Transnet routes, or alternatively to couple their wagons to Transnet trains, which would convey the freight further.

RATP is seeking to sign a 10-year framework agreement for the design and supply of 19 steel-wheeled trams and an option for up to 51 more. The trams will run on the 11 km 18-stop route T7 from Villejuif to Athis-Mons, in the south of Paris, and the 8·5 km 17-stop Line T8 from St-Denis to Epinay and Villetaneuse. Both lines are due to enter service in 2013.

Rouen municipality has invited tenders for 13 trams about 30 m long and 14 of around 40 m to increase capacity on its tram network.