Argentina on Tuesday signed a contract with a consortium led by Alstom of France to build the first high-speed train in the Americas, linking Buenos Aires with the cities of Rosario and CÃ³rdoba in three hours, nearly a fifth of the current journey time.
Patrick Kron, Alstomâ€™s chairman and chief executive, said construction would start before the end of the year and last for four years. Alstom, which designed and built Franceâ€™s TGV, Spainâ€™s AVE and South Koreaâ€™s KTX, is providing the rolling stock, signalling and maintenance to the Veloxia consortium, which also includes Iecsa and Emepa of Argentina and Spainâ€™s Isolux Corsan.
The total project, financed by French bank Natixis, will cost some $3.7bn and Argentina will issue 30-year debt. Alstomâ€™s share of the project is worth around $1.7bn. The project is five to eight times cheaper than similar ones in France or Spain, Alstom says.
Eight double-decker trains, with a capacity to hold 509 passengers each, will travel at a maximum 320 kph (200 mph), linking Buenos Aires and the city of Rosario, a major port, and the city of CÃ³rdoba.
Time for the US to get on board.