Mauritius Metro Express is a 26km light rail transit system being developed in Mauritius. The line will extend from Curepipe to Immigration Square in Port Louis and include 19 stations.

Estimated to cost MUR18.8bn ($565m), the project was officially launched in March 2017 and is being undertaken by Metro Express Limited, a wholly-owned company of the Government of Mauritius.

It will pass through five major cities, including Curepipe, Vacoas, Rose Hill, Quatre Bornes, and the capital Port Louis.

Operations are due to begin on the Rose Hill to Port Louis section in September 2019, while train services from the Curepipe station are expected to start in early-2021.

The metro project will cut the journey time from Curepipe to Port Louis to 41 minutes. It is expected to create approximately 7,000 full-time jobs during the construction phase.

Mauritius Metro Express project background

The light rail project is being undertaken to decrease traffic congestion in Mauritius, which is costing the nation MUR4bn ($119.6m) a year. The project design includes the creation of a multimodal urban transit solution, connecting three major bus interchanges to give commuters to access bus services.

A future north-south expansion of the metro express is in plan, which will create a direct connection to the airport.

A Joint Project Monitoring Committee, under the chairmanship of the Minister of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport and the High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, was created to oversee the light rail project.

Construction and station details of Metro Express project

The Metro Express project includes the construction of stations, viaducts and bridges in addition to the installation of electric traction systems, ticketing and passenger information systems, and other maintenance equipment.

The metro line will have 19 stations, two of which will be state-of-the-art elevated with five interchanges at urban terminals. A dedicated train depot is planned to be located at Richelieu.

The stations will feature user-friendly ticket machines, and the tracks will be ballast-less.

Rolling stock for the light rail project

The project will feature 18 bi-directional, low-floor, air-conditioned trams with seven modules each. The trains will be equipped with an advanced signalling system, automatic vehicle location system (AVLS), transit signal priority system (TSPS), and a driving simulator.

The trains will be capable of accommodating 300 to 400 passengers and will have a Wi-Fi facility.

Mauritius Metro Express project financing

The project is being developed with the support of a $353m grant awarded by the Government of India to Mauritius in March 2017.

“The light rail project is being undertaken to decrease traffic congestion in Mauritius, which is costing the nation MUR4bn ($119.6m) a year.”

The grant was awarded as a special economic package for assisting five high-priority projects, which include the Metro Express project, new Supreme Court building, e–tablets for primary school children, social housing units and a new ENT hospital.

The Indian Government has granted MUR9.9bn ($275m) for the Metro Express project as part of the grant, while the remaining is being financed by the State Bank of Mauritius Infrastructure Development through a line of credit.

An advance of MUR1.8bn ($52.95m) was transferred to the Government of Mauritius in November 2016, followed by a Rs900m ($27.5m) cheque issued in September 2017.

Contractors involved

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) was awarded the MUR18.80bn ($565m) design and construction contract for the project in July 2017. The company awarded a €100m ($119m) contract to CAF for supplying 18 Urbos trams for the light rail system.

Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) prepared the feasibility study report and the preliminary design and alignment. It will also provide transaction advisory and management services for the potential implementation of the project.

The Government of Mauritius appointed RITES as the consultant and project implementation supervisor in March 2017.

Aurecon is engaged as the technical advisory services consultant for the light rail system. It will work in collaboration with SCE and the Singapore Mass Transit Corporation (SMRT) for the project.

SMRT will provide technical inputs for public transport integration, operation and maintenance planning, and operational safety of the project. Orfisa will provide documentation services in addition to engineering and architectural services.

The government of Mauritius has created a traffic engineering unit comprising the Korea Expressway Corporation, the Mauritius Research Council, and the Ministry of Public Infrastructure and Land Transport to address the traffic issues from the project.