10 bidders clear first hurdle to build Slovenia’s difficult railway

Chinese and Turkish contracting heavyweights dominate a shortlist of 10 bidders vying to build a challenging, €1.2bn railway in Slovenia.

Although the railway is just 27km long, 20.5km of it – 75% of its length – will run through eight tunnels, three of them more than 6km in length.

Adding in service and exit tunnels, in all, 37.4km of tunnels will need to be built.

Two bridges in Slovenia’s picturesque Glinščica valley (pictured) are also being built to carry track.

The project will add a second, and more direct, railway between the cargo-port city of Koper on the Gulf of Trieste and Divaca, near the Italian border, where it will plug into trans-European rail networks.

The first railway, built in 1967, is just under 46km long. It needs constant maintenance, which limits its capacity.
In January, 29 teams entered tenders for the new line.

The company set up by the Slovenian government to deliver the scheme, 2TDK, has announced a shortlist of 10 bidders. They are:

  • China Communications Construction Company;
  • Cengiz Insaat of Turkey;
  • A consortium of China Gezhouba Group and Slovenia’s Ginex International;
  • China Railway Group;
  • China State Construction Engineering Corporation;
  • A consortium made up of Gorenjska Gradbena Druzba and CGP of Slovenia with Czech company Metrostav;
  • A consortium of Turkey’s Ic Ictas Insaat and Bosnia’s Euro-Asfalt;
  • A consortium of Slovenia’s Kolektor with Yapi Merkezi Insaat and Ozaltin Insaat of Turkey;
  • A consortium of Austria’s Strabag, Germany’s Ed Zublin and Turkey’s Gulermak;
  • A consortium of Turkey’s YDA Insaat and Unitek Insaat.

The selection process has two phases, with the first intended to pick 10 bidders based on their ability to build the line, while a second phase, due to begin next month, will pick winners based on price.

State news agency STA reported on Friday that final contracts are expected to be signed by the end of the year with a view to beginning services in 2026, when the two lines will allow the running of up to 231 trains a day.

Last month, 2TDK chose a consortium made up of Slovenian companies Markomark Nival, Nival Invest and Ekorel to build two bridges across the Glinščica valley for the railway. This work will begin at the end of August and be complete in November 2021.

In May, the European Investment Bank approved a loan of up to €250m for the project.

Image: The planned line will cross Slovenia’s Glinščica valley (Dreamstime)

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