Construction work on the line, which will include 27 stations and is expected to carry 120,000 passengers per day when it opens in 2016, is set to begin in 30-40 days. The Cita Cuenca consortium, which consists of Alstom and French companies CIM, TSO and Ineo, secured the $US 142.6m civil works contract. Alstom's share of the contract is worth $US 91m and it will supply 14 five-car Citadis LRVs, electrification, power supply and system integration. The 33m-long low-floor LRVs will have capacity for 300 passengers.

Spanish consortium Tranvía Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca also secured a contract worth $US 72.1m which encompasses construction of the rolling stock depot, preparation of the alignment and other works.

The new line is the first in the Americas to deploy catenary-free operation. Alstom's APS solution, which uses a third rail embedded in the centre of the track, is set to be installed in Cuenca's historical city centre, which is a Unesco world heritage site.

The project has a total budget of $US 232m and will be managed by SMT-AC/Artelia Ville & Transport, France, after it secured an $US 8.2m contract in April. The Ecuadorian Ministry of Finance is providing $US 147m towards this cost with the remainder coming from the Municipality of Cuenca which has secured a loan from the French government's Emerging Country Reserve loan scheme.