THE GOVERNMENT of Trinidad & Tobago has invited expressions of interest for the construction of two new rail routes in Trinidad, which it plans to offer as a DBOM contract. Frequent passenger services are planned to try and overcome growing congestion on the island's principal road corridors (RG 9.05 p527).

The Rapid Rail Project includes a 54 km east-west route linking Sangre Grande, Arima, Port of Spain and Diego Martin, and a 50 km north-south line from Port of Spain to Chaguanas and San Fernando. The network is being planned in five segments, and the number to be included in the initial phase will depend on the bids received during the prequalification round.

The project is being implemented through the state-owned National Infrastructure Development Corp, which has appointed Parsons Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas to support the procurement process.

Qualified bidders will be invited to tender by the end of March, and the government hopes to be in a position to award a contract for the initial phase in the autumn of 2006. Design and construction are expected to take five or six years, but there is no fixed period for the operations and maintenance contract.