China Nears Deal with Mexico to Export Bullet Trains for First Time

China’s state-owned train maker CSR Corp unveil a prototype train that is capable of reaching speeds of up to 500 kilometres (310 miles) an hour

China moved a step closer to exporting bullet trains for the first time, as the Mexican government said a consortium involving four Chinese firms was the sole bidder for a project to break ground this year.

The consortium consists of four Mexican firms and four Chinese companies: China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd., China Railway International Group, China Railway Construction Corp. (Mexico) S.A. de C.V. and CSR Corp. Ltd. The latter is one of the country’s largest makers of railroad equipment.

The consortium presented US$ 4.3 billion plan to build high-speed passenger trains and a 210 kilometer line linking Mexico City and the central city of Queretaro, Mexico’s ministry of transport said. The trains would be built in China.

Premier Li Keqiang, has spearheaded diplomatic efforts to export China’s expertise building trains and lines. Li has tried to sell the country’s experience building a network at home to countries such as Britain, Thailand and others. A line built by Chinese firms that links the Turkish cities of Ankara and Istanbul opened this year.

China finished its first domestic high-speed line, from Beijing to the port city of Tianjin, in 2008. By the end of last year, some 10,000 kilometers of high-speed lines were in place.

CSR will make the trains for the project in Mexico, and the three other companies will build the lines. Mexico’s government expects the trains to run 300 kilometers per hour and carry 23,000 passengers daily.
The consortium involving the Chinese firms is likely to win the project, a source from CSR said.
Mexico’s government opened the project for bidding on August 15 and companies had two months to respond. Work is to start this year and the line will open in 2017, the bidding documents show.

Many companies, including the German engineering group Siemens AG, were interested in the project, said another source close to CSR, but most firms thought the bidding schedule was too short. They asked Mexico’s transport ministry to extend the timeframe, but were rejected. These firms then withdrew from bidding, and the consortium of Chinese companies became the sole bidder.

The Mexican government is to make a final decision on November 3 on whether it will proceed with the plan involving the Chinese companies.


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