Russian Federation Construction and Business News
RU - Russian Railways Mulls Restarting Sirte-Benghazi Railway Project
June 12, 2012
State-owned Russian Railways (RZhD) is conducting talks with the Libyan government for the possible continuation of its aborted railway project from Sirte-Benghazi. Work on the 554 kilometer, US$4.5 billion contract was stopped in 2010 when civil war broke out.
US$4.5 Billion Contract Aborted in 2011 Civil Uprising
State-owned Russian Railways (RZhD) is talking to the Libyan government about possibly continuing its construction of the US$4.5 billion aborted railway project from Sirte to Benghazi.
The Russians were building the said railroad when civil war broke out in 2011 in the country leading to the stoppage of work and the evacuation of workers.
The railroad was in the offing as early as 1998 with a government plan to build a 3,170 railway network of which the Sirte-Benghazi line was part. China Railway Construction Corporation was working on a 352 stretch from Sirte to Khoms while another line spanning 800 km would have been built from Wadi Shati’s iron ore deposits to the Misrata port.
In October 2007, RZD gave the Libyan government a feasibility study for the project. The following year, the contract was inked which gave the Russian firm 4 years to finish its stretch of the railway.
It was August 2008 when Russian Railways started work for the 554 km part of the line from Sirte to Benghazi.
Equipment were bought on site including tools for laying railroad track, flat wagons and a crane weighing 100 tons. Furthermore, a facility to accommodate its 400 employees was constructed at Ras Lanuf. The company was looking at hiring 3,500 Russian and Libyan workers.
Prior to the stoppage of work on the Sirte-Benghazi line, over 30 kilometers of the railway had been already constructed as well as 100 kilometers of road. Also built were five concrete plants with two already operational.
RZD subcontracted certain aspects of the project in August 2010. It gave Ansaldo STS and SELEX Communications the work on telecommunications, signage, energy, ticketing, and security.
The “Arab Spring”, a civil society movement to rid tyrants and long-playing corrupt leaders in the Middle East, started in Tunisia when strongman Ben Ali was removed from power through a bloody revolution. It quickly caught fire in Libya with the focus on Muammar Qadhafi and his family who had been ruling the country for decades.
Soon, the movement turned bloody when it was clear that Qadhafi had no intentions of leaving. A drawn-out civil war followed which only ended with the strongman’s death in October 20, 2011.
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