CALIFORNIA’S High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the design of the track and overhead line systems (OHL) for the new Central Valley high-speed line, the first of its kind in the United States which will see trains operating at up to 350km/h.

The $US 131m tender involves high-level design of the 275km of double track and OHL between Merced and Bakersfield, including detailed design of the 191km section currently under construction.

The chosen contractor will be expected to design the track system, including the track structure, OHL, wayside cable containment, cross-track ducts, access walkways, fencing, and drainage. They will also manage technical and non-technical interfaces with contractors/consultants.

Offers are due to be submitted by January 22 next year. A final decision is expected in April 2024.

This is the second time CHSRA has issued an RFQ for the track and OHL design contract as it was forced to let its previous one lapse last year due to the strained economy and supply chain disruption. The revised tender is described by the authority as part of its new procurement strategy, under which it intends to better consider the actual needs on the ground.

Last August, the CHSRA issued an RFQ for six trains to run on the line, with the first two prototypes due by 2028.

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