Construction starts on Libya's Sirt - Benghazi railway

By Richard High03 September 2008

Russian Railways has started construction of a 554 km-long twin-track railway linking Sirt and Benghazi in Libya, according to a statement on its website.

The line, which uses a 1.435 m gauge, will run along Libya's Mediterranean coast connecting the country's major cities. It will also form part of Africa's international northern transport corridor.

Construction is expected to last four years and cost US$ 3.17 billion.

The project will require 30 rail and 23 road overpasses, as well as four major railway stations and 24 local stations, of which 14 will be for passengers, two for passengers and goods and four for goods, with four operating stations.

It is estimated that construction will require more than 203000 m3 of concrete and 40000 tonnes of iron and steel. Over 3400 construction workers and more than 200 pieces of equipment will also be needed.

Commenting on the start of construction, Vladimir Yakunin, president of Russian Railways, said, "A new chapter has opened today in the economic cooperation between Libya and Russia. This is the first major project in the history of the two countries in the transport sphere. Russian Railways already has sufficient experience with this kind of work, so we know we can deliver on schedule and with high quality."

The contract for the construction of the railway line between Sirt and Benghazi was signed between Russian Railways and the Office for the Implementation of Railway Projects by the Socialist Libyan Arab Jamahiriya in Tripoli on April 17, 2008 in the presence of Vladimir Putin and Muammar Qaddafi.

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