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Pointers March 2005

01 Mar 2005

On January 25 the King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed in Delhi to launch a feasibility study for rail links between the two countries. Routes under consideration are Hasimara - Phuentsholing with a branch to Pasaka (18 km), Kokrajhar - Geylegphug (70 km), Pathsala - Naglam (40 km), Rangla - Darranga - Samdrupjongkar (60 km) and Banarhat - Samtse.

Turkmenistan Railways announced on January 25 that tracklaying on the 560 km Trans-Karakum line from Ashgabat to Dashoguz had reached the mid-point and would be completed by the end of this year.

The Spanish Ministry of Development has confirmed that the proposed fixed link to Morocco has been included in the PEIT infrastructure plan for 2005-20 (RG 2.05 p61). The two governments are to request funding from the European Union.

Look for the Kenyan government to table amending legislation this month to pave the way for the award of a 25-year concession to operate the KRC network (RG 2.05 p61). The government and the World Bank's International Finance Corp have appointed UK law firm Wragg & Co to assist with the privatisation process.

Four multinational mining groups have submitted bids to reopen the Nimba iron ore mines in northern Liberia, which will see the revival of the 267 km railway from the port of Buchanan which has been closed since the civil war began in 1990.

Ministers from Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a joint accord in January to accelerate the implementation of the planned US$350m Kars - Akhalkalaki - Tbilisi rail link and set up a working group to develop the project in detail.

A detailed design study by Semaly and Puerto Rican architects has confirmed the viability of building a 20 km interurban line from Caguas to connect with the Tren Urbano heavy metro at Cupay in San Juan (RG 10.04 p664). The island has applied for a US$457m grant from the US government to fund half the cost of another 14 km line linking the satellite town of Carolina to Tren Urbano, on which work is expected to start in 2008.

The consortium led by FCC which holds a 35-year concession to build and operate a two-line light metro network in M