KING Mohammed VI of Morocco presided at a ceremony on July 5 to mark the start of construction of a 117 km line from Taourirt to Nador.

Due for completion in 2008, the railway is expected to carry 500000 passengers a year together with 1·5 million tonnes of freight. Stations will be built at Melga El Ouidane, Oulad Rahou, Hassi Berkane, Segangane and Nador, where a double track tunnel will take the line beneath the city. The line will have no level crossings.

Cost of the project is 2·4bn dirhams, with 960m coming from the national government and 900m from the Hassan II Fund for Economic & Social Development.