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Argentina to renovate railways with Chinese trains

( Xinhua )

Updated: 2013-02-20

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BUENOS AIRES - Argentina will receive Chinese-built trains next year as part of a push to modernize its aging metropolitan railway network that links the capital Buenos Aires with its main suburbs, Argentinean Interior and Transportation Minister Florencio Randazzo said Tuesday.

A video conference was held on Tuesday when Randazzo and the Chinese contracting party both confirmed that the engineering work is well under way.

The railroad cars will be delivered in 13 months, as stipulated by the contract, the Transportation Ministry said, citing the executives from CSR Qingdao Sifang Locomotive & Rolling Stock Co.

"We want you to tell Argentina's President that we have already begun to work very hard on the construction of the cars and we are going to fulfill what we signed," the Chinese executives said.

CSR president Zhang Zaizhong said that his firm is well aware of the project's importance for the government of Argentina.

The contract for the rail cars, which are to be built with the latest technology in comfortability, speed and safety, came as a result of the tragic railway accident that killed 51 passengers in Buenos Aires on Feb 22, 2012.

The tragedy forced the government to intervene in the railway service sector where private companies had been the major players, and ordered the renewal of all rail cars. Chinese companies won the bid with the most competitive proposals.

CSR executives confirmed the advance payment of $164 million by the government, and reassured the ministry that "we will work quickly to build the trains."

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