Iraq is to receive major upgrades to the rail infrastructure in two of its biggest cities, after the government there signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the French rail company, Alstom.
The deal, signed last week, will first see the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, receive a 12.5-mile elevated train line that will use Alstom-supplied rolling stock, electromechanical systems, tracks, associated civil works. Basra, the other Iraqi city to benefit from the plans, will focus on the development of a metro system that will consist of two elevated lines of around 18.5 miles. Positioned along the two lines in Basra, Iraq’s economic capital, will be 15 stations and one depot for each line from the north to the south of the city.
It is hoped that the introduction of the two lines will give a significant – and much-needed – boost to the development of the troubled country’s urban infrastructure and national economy. Speaking about the latest agreement between Alstom and Iraq, Bernard Peille, managing director of Alstom in Western and Central Asia, said it was grateful for the opportunity to help “better address the country’s needs for urban transportation”. Alstom is positive that the agreement will be the first of many.
“Alstom is ready to bring its innovative technologies and sees the signature of this MoU as a first step towards the development of a long-term partnership with Iraq,” said Peille.
The news comes just months following the announcement from China and Russia that they would be two of the key financiers behind the the improvement of rail infrastructure in Iraq’s neighbouring country, Iran. As reported in SmartRail World, Iran will receive billions of dollars to help the country realise its dream of an electrified network on the 575-mile line linking Tehran with Mashad. Siemens will also be part-funding the Iranian project, the country that in 2016 had international trade embargoes against it lifted.
Alstom signed another MoU in September, this time with the train manufacturer Siemens after the two companies agreed a deal that would create a European partnership with the resources to compete with the China’s state-backed operator, CRRC. As a result of the deal, Siemens will merge its Mobility arm into Alstom and will take a 50% stake in the French company.
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