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The contracts announced on March 26 for the Urquiza Line, which is operated by Metrovías, and March 27 for the Belgrano North Line, which is operated by Ferrovías, include options for 18-month extensions while the government develops a longer-term operating plan.
The 26km third-rail Urquiza Line has 23 stations and has been operated by Buenos Aires Subte metro operator Metrovías, since 1994. An operation tender was launched in 2019 but was not completed. Metrovías submitted a bid for the contract with DB Engineering and Consulting acting as technical advisors. Metrovías is majority owned by Argentine company Gruppo Roggio.
Following the decision by Keolis, which was bidding with Transport for London (TfL) and Argentinian civil engineering company Helport, to withdraw a bid to operate the Subte in February 2020, the long-term future of the tendering process remains unclear. Metrovías, which is again working with DB as well as with Siemens, is the only remaining bidder.
The 54km diesel metre-gauge Belgrano North Line runs from Retiro Belgrano station to Villa Rosa. The previous Argentine government announced in February 2018 that it would not renew the contract held by operator Ferrovías. While an international tender process began in mid-2019 it was not completed.
Ferrovías is owned by Buenos Aires based Grupo Emepa and has operated the Belgrano North Line since March 1994.
With the election of a new government in December 2019, new tendering regulations have been introduced and the government is also reviewing the level of financial support available for operating subsidies and investments. This took place before the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a lockdown of Buenos Aires since late March.
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