The scope of the study will include demand forecasting, travel market analysis, and financial modelling for the project. This will form the basis for a detailed action plan covering technical, financial, legal and environmental aspects of the project.

According to the RFP, the line would be built in three phases: Alexandria – Cairo; Cairo – Luxor; and Luxor – Aswan, with the possibility of a link from Luxor to Hurghada on the Red Sea coast in the longer-term.

A two-tier railway is being proposed, with a double-track 180km/h electrified line at the lower level linking all major cities on the route and two 350km/h tracks above which would serve just five stations: Alexandria, Giza (for the Cairo area), Asyout, Luxor, and Aswan. The north-south corridor will run through desert areas immediately to the west of the Nile valley.

The closing date for the RFP is June 12 and the study is expected to take 60-90 days to complete.

The Egyptian government revived the high-speed proposals earlier this year and in March transport minister Mr Ibrahim El-Demeiry said the project would be "a top priority".

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