Argentina To Build High-Speed Rail Line

<p>The first high-speed train in the Americas -- which will be built by a consortium led by France's Alstom -- will cut travel times between Buenos Aires and cities of Rosario and Córdoba by more than two-thirds.</p>
May 3, 2008, 5am PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"The total project, financed by French bank Natixis, will cost some $3.7bn and Argentina will issue 30-year debt. Alstom's share of the project is worth around $1.7bn. The project is five to eight times cheaper than similar ones in France or Spain, Alstom says.

Eight double-decker trains, with a capacity to hold 509 passengers each, will travel at a maximum 320 kph (200 mph), linking Buenos Aires and the city of Rosario, a major port, and the city of Córdoba.

Alstom, which says Argentina's flat pampas are ideal terrain for a high-speed train, is aiming for 1.5m passengers a year and is confident the total will be higher. President Cristina Fernández called the project – which has been criticised as an extravagance when Argentina's local train network urgently needs revamping – as "a leap into modernity".

"This is a very symbolic and high-profile project but I think it will be accompanied by other projects," Mr Kron said. Argentina is preparing a tender for a similar high-speed link to the seaside resort of Mar del Plata."

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Published on Thursday, May 1, 2008 in The Financial Times
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