THE next stage of the light rail line on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius has been completed with the opening of the 6.5km Phase 2C, which extends the line from Phoenix to Curepipe. The section was opened by Mauritius’ prime minister, Mr Pravind Jugnauth, on October 9.

The Rs 18.8bn ($US 228.3m) section was built by Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India. The line now runs for 26km from Port Louis in the north to Curepipe in the south, with 19 stations including 17 at-grade and two elevated.

Testing was conducted by Metro Express Ltd (MEL), Rites, L&T, and CAF with oversight from Singapore metro operator SMRT to ensure the extension was integrated with the rest of the route. A trial run along the new alignment was held on September 16, attended by MEL CEO, Mr Das Mootanah, SMRT international consultant, Mr Lui Wai Meng, CAF project director, Mr Ander Montes, MEL chief of operations, Mr Parama Naidoo, and MEL chief of maintenance, Mr Mooroogen Chinapen.

Phase 1, which runs for 12.4km from Victoria in Port Louis to Rose Hill, began commercial operation on January 10 2020 after months of testing with passengers. The 2.6km Phase 2A from Rose Hill to Quatre Bornes opened on June 20 2021, with the 3.6km Phase 2B to Curepipe opening on May 8. Phase 3, a branch from Rose Hill to Réduit, is expected to be completed before the end of this year.

In March 2017 the Indian government agreed to fully finance the project through a $US 275m grant to the Mauritian government and a line of credit to the State Bank of Mauritius. The same month Rites was appointed consultant and project supervisor, while Systra acted as detailed design consultant.

Phase 1 was also constructed by L&T under a Rs 18.8bn ($US 572m) contract awarded in August 2017, with a contract to construct Phase 2A awarded to the company in February 2021. In December 2017, L&T awarded CAF a €100m turnkey contract to supply 18 low-floor LRVs, signalling, an automatic vehicle location system, a traffic light priority system, depot equipment, and a driving simulator. Elis Infotech Systems, China, supplied the smartcard ticketing system.

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