Meed reported that France’s Alstom has signed an agreement with Baghdad Municipality to discuss the possibility of signing a contract to build the estimated USD 600 million Baghdad Elevated Train project.
An Alstom spokesman said that “Alstom is willing to contribute to the reconstruction program in Iraq, in particular within the public transport area. Thus, Alstom has signed an agreement that opens a period of discussions with Baghdad local government, with the objective of signing a contract for the Baghdad Elevated Train.”
The project involves building a line that runs for 25 kilometers on a viaduct, which is aimed to reduce congestion in the city. It will link the areas of Al Mustansiriya and Alawi al Hilla in central Baghdad.
The French government will pay between 50% and 60% of the total project cost. The remainder will be financed through a low interest loan from a French government run bank that will be repaid over 20 years. The project was launched in July 2010.
The first line of the monorail will start from Mustansiriya and run to the Central Station in Alawi al Hilla in central Baghdad via Waziriya, Shaab, Sarafiya bridge, Buratha mosque, Abdulmohsin al Kazimi Square, Eden Square and Muthanna airport.
The second line will run from the Baya area to Doora highway, Oqba Square and will end at the Masbah metro station. The line will take about two years to build. This is a separate project to the USD 3 billion Baghdad metro. A 37 kilometer long monorail project is already under way in the city of Najaf, which is located about 160 kilometers south of Baghdad.
Najaf and the nearby town of Karbala are both popular destinations for Shia pilgrims and they have shrines and monuments of religious significance. Currently, about 70 million pilgrims travel to Najaf each year. The monorail will help to reduce congestion in the city and transport the pilgrims around the city more easily.