A US$836m contract for construction of Tehran Metro Line 4 was signed on May 15 by the Managing Director of Tehran Urban & Suburban Railway Co, Mohsen Hashemi, and the Managing Director of China North Industries Corp, in the presence of the city's Mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Norinco was selected to build the 21 km east-west line following an international call for tenders last year (MR03 p51). The company had previously supplied fixed equipment and rolling stock for the Tehran - Karaj - Mehrshahr suburban line.

Line 4 will link Ekbatan in the west to Shahid Kolahdooz Square to the east of the Iranian capital, running via Azadi Square, Enghelab Square, Ferdowsi Square and Shohada Square. There will be 22 stations, including interchanges to Line 2 at Azadi and Darvazeh-Shemiran and to Line 1 at Darvazeh-Dolat. Design capacity is put at 1·5 million passengers per day.

Under the deal, Norinco will arrange long-term financial facilities to meet the total cost of construction including the track, stations, fixed equipment and a fleet of 161 EMU cars. The cars are to be built by a Chinese-Iranian joint venture, and TUSRC has specified that 51% of the contract value should go to local manufacturers and subcontractors. Construction will be undertaken in two phases, and is scheduled to be completed within 41/2 years of financial close.

A separate letter of understanding covers property development opportunities in at least 10 of the 22 stations, which are expected to amount to around 500000m2. These will be developed by TUSRC in partnership with international contractors, and are expected to generate sufficient income to pay off the loans which will be used to fund Line 4.