Market News

21 rail projects to watch in 2021 - IRJ

JANUARY 16, 2021

Written byOliver Cuenca

Montpellier – Perpignan TGV Country: FranceType: High-SpeedConstruction Start: N/ACompletion: N/ALength: 150kmCost: $US 6.7bn France is set to launch a public inquiry in autumn 2021 into the construction of the 150km high-speed line between Montpellier and Perpignan, after construction of the line was confirmed as a priority. The missing link in the Paris-Spain high-speed corridor was […]


France is set to launch a public inquiry into the construction of the 150km high-speed line between Montpellier and Perpignan.

Montpellier – Perpignan TGV

Country: France Type: High-Speed Construction Start: N/A Completion: N/A Length: 150km Cost: $US 6.7bn

France is set to launch a public inquiry in autumn 2021 into the construction of the 150km high-speed line between Montpellier and Perpignan, after construction of the line was confirmed as a priority. The missing link in the Paris-Spain high-speed corridor was shelved after president, Mr Emmanuel Macron, came to power. France opened the LGV Méditerranée line from Manduel, east of Nîmes, to Lattes, west of Montpellier, in 2017. The line will be mixed use and will remove around 50 freight trains a day from the conventional route, allowing increases in local passenger services.

Ho Chi Minh Line 1

Country: Vietnam Type: Metro Construction Start: 2012 Completion: 2021 Length: 19.7km Cost: $US 2.5bn

Ho Chi Minh Line 1 will be the first metro line in the Vietnamese capital when it opens in 2021. The 14-station line will run southwest from Suoi Tien Park to Ben Thanh in the city centre, where it will interchange with Line 2, which is currently scheduled to open in 2026. The line will offer maximum speeds of 80km/h, with a minimum headway of two minutes. The project was originally slated to open in 2018 but has been delayed by three years. Costs have also nearly doubled from an initial estimate of $US 1.4bn to $US 2.5bn.

Milan Blue Line

Country: Italy Type: Metro Construction Start: 2012 Completion: 2023 Length: 15km Cost: $US 2.2bn

The first section of Milan’s 15km Line M4 ‘Blue Line’, between Forlanini and Linate Airport, is due to open in 2021. The full line will run west-east along Lorenteggio Avenue, passing south of the city centre connecting San Cristoforo, Sant’Ambrogio (Line M2), Sforza/ Policlinico, San Baila (Line M1), Dateo, Forlanini and Linate Airport. The line will be completely automated, with no drivers on the 50m-long trains. The stations, which will have platform screen doors, will also be 50m long, compared with 110m on lines M1, M2 and M3. Full automation will permit a train frequency of up to 90 seconds, which would enable the line to transport 24,000 to 28,000 passengers per hour per direction.

Auckland City Rail Link

Country: New Zealand Type: Commuter Rail Construction Start: 2018 Completion: 2024 Length: 3.4km Cost: $US 3.1bn

Tunnel boring for Auckland’s $NZ 4.42bn 3.4km City Rail Link (CRL) underground line begins in 2021. The line, jointly funded by the New Zealand government and Auckland Council, will run from Britomart station, via the Central Business District, to the existing western line at Mount Eden station. The CRL will extend the existing commuter rail line underground to interchange with the western line at Mount Eden Station. The project is due for completion in early 2024.

Zhengzhou – Xiangyang – Wanzhou High-Speed Line

Country: China Type: High-Speed Construction Start: 2016 Completion: 2021 Length: 818km Cost: $US 13.5bn

The 818km line will have a design speed of 350km/h and will connect Zhengzhou East station to Wanzhou North, with 18 stations. The 350.8km-long Henan section between Zhengzhou and Dengzhou was commissioned on August 5 2019, with the full line scheduled to open in 2021. China announced plans in August to almost double the size of its high-speed network to 70,000km by 2035. The network, already the world’s biggest, currently has a total length of around 36,000km.

Tel Aviv Red Line

Country: Israel Type: Light Rail Construction Start: 2011 Completion: 2021 Length: 24km Cost: $US 3.1bn

Tel Aviv’s 24km light rail Red Line is scheduled to begin commissioning in 2021. The line will link Petah Tikva mainline station with Bnei Brak, Jaffa, and Bat Yam. A further extension to Moshe Dayan interchange in Rishon Lezion is also being considered. The line includes an 11km underground section between Manshiyya/Neve Tzedek and Geha Interchange and serves 34 stations – 24 at grade and 10 underground. The line will become the backbone of the Tel Aviv’s transport network and is intended to alleviate the city’s most congested areas.

Rennes Metro Line B

Country: France Type: Metro Construction Start: 2014 Completion: 2021 Length: 14km Cost: $US 1.3bn

Rennes’ northeast-southwest Line B is scheduled to open to passengers in 2021. The line will run from Cesson-Viasilva to Saint-Jaques-Gaîte, serving 15 stations, including two interchanges with Line A at Sainte-Anne and Gares, as well as with the city’s main line station. The project includes the construction of 8.6km of bored tunnel, 2.4km of cut-and-cover tunnel, and 2.4km of viaduct. The line will be operated using a fleet of 19 Cityval trains supplied by Siemens under a contract awarded in 2013 and is expected to serve around 113,000 passengers per day.

Texas Central High-Speed Line

Country: United States Type: High-Speed Construction Start: 2021 Completion: 2026 Length: 390km Cost: $US 20bn

Construction of the $US 20bn Dallas – Brazos Valley – Houston Texas Central high-speed railway will go ahead in the half of 2021, following the release of the final Rule of Particular Applicability (RPA) and Record of Decision (ROD) by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in September 2020. The two federal decisions established federal safety standards for operation and give environmental clearance for the selected alignment. Work will be carried out by WeBuild, Italy, and its US subsidiary, Lane Construction, under a design-build contract awarded in September 2019. The line will have an operational speed of 320km/h, 25kV ac electrification, and an elevated alignment on around 60% of its total length.

Riyadh Metro

Country: Saudi Arabia Type: Metro Construction Start: 2014 Completion: 2021 Length: 176km Cost: $US 24.4bn

The Riyadh Metro project is scheduled to open its first lines in 2021.

The 176km six-line Riyadh Metro project is scheduled to open its first lines in 2021, with timetable testing now underway on lines 4 and 6. Line 5 is currently undergoing carousel trials but has not yet reached the stage of replicating the full service. Work on the $US 24.4bn metro project began in April 2014. The network is intended to address extreme congestion in the city, in which around 10 million motorised journeys are undertaken every day. 80% of all journeys are taken by car, and only 2% use public transport. The metro is being developed alongside an integrated city-wide 1900km bus network, as part of an intermodal transport system.

Salvador Orange Line

Country: Brazil Type: Monorail Construction Start: 2020 Completion: 2022 Length: 19.2km Cost: $US 429.4m

Salvador’s 19.2km Orange Line monorail is scheduled to open its first section in 2021. The line, which will eventually connect the Commerce District with São João island, is expected to carry 172,000 passengers per day. Work on the line began in March 2020 and is being carried out by the BYD-led Skyrail Bahia consortium. The line is one of two monorails planned for the city, alongside the 4.1km São Joaquim – Acesso Norte Green Line. Both lines are currently scheduled to open in 2022.

Mayan Train

Country: Mexico Type: Main Line Construction Start: 2020 Completion: 2023 onwards Length: 1452km Cost: $US 1.6bn

The Mayan Train project was launched in June 2020, with contracts awarded for four of the projects seven sections comprising rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and new construction. The first trains are expected to run on the line from 2023. A $US 1.97bn contract for the supply of rolling stock, ETCS, automatic train control equipment, and depots for the first five sections will be awarded on May 26. A BlackRock-led consortium emerged as the sole bidder for section 5, but the bid was voided due to concerns about its financial solvency. Progress on this section is expected in 2021. The 17-station line will run from Izamal via Chichén Itza and Valladolid, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Bacalar, to Escárcega. The project was originally slated to cost $US 3.4bn, but this has now risen to $US 6-8bn.

Cairo – 10th of Ramadan City Interurban LRT

Country: Egypt Type: Interurban Light Rail Construction Start: 2017 Completion: 2021 Length: 66km Cost: $1.2bn

The 11-station El Salam – 10th of Ramadan City light rail line will open to the public in October, following trial operation on the line starting from August. The line will run via El Obour City, El Shorouk City, Badr City, and 10th of Ramadan City. The line is being constructed by local firm Arab Constructors and is expected to carry around 340,000 passengers per day, reducing traffic on the Cairo – Ismailia highway by around 30%. CRRC Sifang will supply a fleet of 22 six-car EMUs with a design speed of 120km/h for the line and will provide maintenance of the fleet for 12 years.

São Paulo Line 17-Gold

Country: Brazil Type: Monorail Construction Start: 2012 Completion: 2021 Length: 7.7km Cost: $US 1.3bn

The monorail project is expected to open this year.

The long-awaited Line 17-Gold is finally slated to open this year. The 7.7km-long, eight station monorail project will connect Congonhas airport, via an interchange with Line 5-Lilac at Campo Belo, to Morumbi on Line 9-Emerald. The original contract for the project was awarded to Monorail Railroad Consortium (CMI), but this agreement was unilaterally terminated by São Paulo Metro following continuous delays. São Paulo Metro signed a Reais 494.8m ($US 96.4m) contract with Constran on January 13 2020 for the resumption of civil works. BYD, China, was awarded a contract worth around Reais 1bn to supply the systems and 14 trains.

Laos-China Railway

Country: Laos Type: Main Line Construction Start: 2016 Completion: 2021 Length: 414.3km Cost: $US 5.28bn

The 414km standard-gauge single-track electrified line runs south from the China-Laos border at Boten to Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane. The line will connect China’s Yuxi – Mohan line with the metre-gauge line from Tha Na Laeng near Vientiane to Nong Khai in Thailand. Civil works were completed at the end of 2019, with civil engineering works including bridges and tunnels now in their final stages. China Railway says it will begin operating international services by the end of 2021.

Johor Bahru – Singapore Mass Rapid Transit System

Country: Singapore/Malaysia Type: Light Metro Construction Start: 2021 Completion: 2026 Length: 4km Cost: $US 875.7m

When it opens in late 2026, Johor Bahru – Singapore cross-border light metro will serve around 10,000 passengers per direction per hour.

Construction of the 4km Johor Bahru – Singapore cross-border light metro will begin in earnest this month, following a groundbreaking ceremony on November 27. First announced in 2010, the line will cross the Straits of Johor, connecting Bukit Chagar in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with Woodlands North Station on Singapore’s Thomson East Coast Line. The work will be overseen by RTS Operations, a joint venture of Singapore public transport operator SMRT and Kuala Lumpur operator Prasarana, which will operate the line. When it opens in late 2026, it is expected to serve around 10,000 passengers per direction per hour.

San Francisco Central Subway

Country: United States Type: Light Rail Construction Start: 2012 Completion: 2022 Length: 2.7km Cost: $US 1.6bn

The 2.7km Central Subway project is an underground extension of San Francisco’s Municipal Railway (Muni) T Third light rail line. The project broke ground in February 2010, with construction now scheduled to be completed in March 2021, when testing is due to commence. The line was originally set to open in late 2018, but has been delayed to spring 2022. The Central Subway will run from downtown San Francisco to Chinatown and includes both at grade and underground sections.

Lagos – Ibadan Railway

Country: Nigeria Type: Main Line Construction Start: 2017 Completion: 2021 Length: 156km Cost: $US 1.6bn

The 156km Lagos – Ibadan railway is scheduled to open for full passenger services this month, following trial operation which began on December 7. The double-track 1435mm-gauge line connects Lagos, Nigeria’s economic hub and most populous city, to Ibadan, regional capital of Oyo state. The $US 1.6bn project was constructed by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCEC) and will offer an end-to-end journey time of two hours. The Lagos – Ibadan line is the first part of a planned 2733km Lagos – Kano standard-gauge route, with an estimated total cost of $US 11.12bn.

Melbourne Airport Rail Link

Country: Australia Type: Commuter Rail Construction start: 2022 Completion: 2029 Length: 27km Cost: $US 5.4bn

The Melbourne Airport Rail Link (Marl) will connect the city centre with Melbourne Airport.

The Melbourne Airport Rail Link (Marl) will connect the city centre with Melbourne Airport, which is expected to serve 67 million per year by 2038. The Australian federal government and state government of Victoria finalised the route for the line in November, using the existing suburban tracks to Sunshine station, which will become a major interchange, with a dedicated track running from Sunshine to the airport. When completed, trains will run every 10 minutes with an end-to-end journey time of less than 30 minutes. The federal and state governments have agreed to provide $5bn each for the project, which is expected to cost $A 8-10bn.

Istanbul Metro M11 Airport Line

Country: Turkey Type: Metro Construction Start: 2016 Completion: 2021 Length: 37.5km Cost: $US 1.1bn

The M11 Airport Line will connect Gayrettepe on the existing Line 2, with Istanbul’s new main airport, which opened in 2019. The line will offer an end-to-end journey time of 35 minutes. Trains will operate automatically (GoA4) at five-minute headways at a maximum speed of 120km/h. The line, which is being built by the Kolin-Senbay joint venture, is envisaged as Phase 1 of a Gayrettepe – Halkali metro line, which will offer main line connections with the Marmaray line.

Calgary Green Line (Phase 1)

Country: Canada Type: Light Rail Construction Start: 2021 Completion: 2026 Length: 20km Cost: $US 4bn Work on the $C 5.5bn 20km Phase 1 of Calgary’s Green Line project is scheduled to begin in 2021, following the city administration’s approval of the project’s alignment and construction strategy in June 2020. Construction was originally scheduled to begin in spring 2020, with a completion date for Phase 1 of 2026. However, the project was delayed, in part due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The line, which will be 46km-long when complete, will link Inglewood/Ramsay in the southeast with Crescent Heights/Mount Pleasant in the north, via the city centre. Phase 1 will be constructed in three segments.

Edmonton Valley Line West

Country: Canada Type: Light Rail Construction Start: 2021 Completion: 2027 Length: 14km Cost: $US 1.98bn

Construction of Valley Line West is expected to be completed in 2027.

Valley Line West is the 14km second phase of the 27km Valley Line light rail line. It runs from Mill Woods, via the city centre, to 102 Street, with 14 stations, and construction is due to begin in 2021. The project will be designed, built, and partially funded by Marigold Infrastructure Partners (MIP), a consortium of Colas Infrastructure Canada, Parsons, Standard General, Francl Architecture, Fast + EPP, and Stantec, under a public-private partnership (PPP). Construction is expected to be completed in 2027.


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