Costa Rica’s transport and public works ministry will invite bids for its estimated $345m metropolitan electric train (TREM) project by the end of October.

The railway will connect capital San José to Heredia province, San Pedro and Sabana Sur.

The winning firm will build, operate and maintain the rail service for 35 years.

Work will involve building two parallel railways and the supply of 16–18 electric trains capable of carrying 340 passengers each.

The state will provide nearly $100m for the project with the remainder to be provided by the state.

Interested firms reportedly include Alstom (France), CAF (Spain), Inekon Group (Czech Republic), Siemens (Germany), Bombardier (Canada), Soares da Costa (Portugal), FCC (Spain), OAS (Brazil), Capital Lending (US), Pöyry (Mexico), and a consortium of Daebon Engineering and Hyundai Rotem (South Korea).

Work on the first Heredia-San José section is expected to begin after awarding of the contract by mid-2010 and finish in 2013.