SPOTLIGHT: Brazil's multi-billion dollar bullet train

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Brazil's logistics and planning group EPL is planning to launch consultancy bids for its multi-billion dollar Rio-São Paulo-Campinas bullet train project after being on hold for over one year.

The latest feasibility studies, according to federal audit court TCU, are outdated (the project first launched in 2006), and according to the latest federal government PAC report, the federal government intends to call bids for the contracting of updated technical, economic and environmental feasibility studies by April 30.

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The changes to the project since it was first presented include: adding the city of Campinas in São Paulo state to the end of the route; changing the financial modeling; and reducing the minimum one-off payment for the project due to an increase in the estimated rate of return.

Once feasibility studies are submitted to TCU they are good for 18 months, the court reaffirmed.

According to a federal bill presented in September, 1mn reais has been earmarked under the PAC growth acceleration plan for EPL to conduct bullet train studies this year. In total, Brazil's 2015 rail budget is 2.59bn reais.

Brazil's Rio-São Paulo-Campinas bullet train route (CREDIT: Abifer)

LATEST BULLET TRAIN DETAILS

According to the latest plan from late 2013, the high speed train was to span 511km between Rio de Janeiro and Campinas, stopping in the city of São Paulo some 90km before Campinas. It was budgeted at 35.6bn reais (US$13.7bn).

Originally launched in December 2010, offers to build and operate the train were due in April 2011, and then pushed back three months. However, no bids were ever submitted.

The project was then divided into two phases: technology and operation of the train, and infrastructure. A tender for phase one works was launched in December 2012, but eventually put on hold in 2013 due to a lack of participants.