Gulf States On Track To Build “European-Style” Rail System

railwaysAn extensive network could link the GCC states as early as 2017.

The benefits of railways are getting renewed attention worldwide. Though there are doubts about whether Israel’s light rail will reach completion, and a recent accident caused some to call its trains a death trap, rail projects in the Middle East can reduce carbon emissions and congestion.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States plan to tune into these benefits with an ambitious rail project expected to cost up to $100 billion. The network will link the region, facilitate expanding cooperation between the Gulf States, and improve movement of freight within, according to Gulf in the Media

Saudi Arabia is planning the most expensive network among the GCC that will not only extend to Yemen, but will also link all parts of the country together. At $25 billion, 3900km of rail will unite Riyadh and Jeddah, Jubail and Dammam, and then North and South.

The line linking Riyadh and Al-Hadithe will also branch to Ras Al-Zour and Jubail, the site of bauxite phosphate mines. And the Haramain Rail project linking Makkah and Madina to the Red Sea will help to alleviate pressure from Hajj pilgrims.

The Germany’s Deuthsche Bahn, Italy’s Astaldi, and Britain’s WS Atkins are among the firms bidding for the construction projects.

The United Arab Emirates are planning to build an $11 billion dollar network that will extend to Saudi Arabia and Oman. Of the 1500km planned, one line will connect the oil rich north to the refinery town Mesaieed in the south, and is expected to be completed by 2026.

Although Bahrain had to abandon a proposed bridge that would link the country with Qatar, it is conducting feasibility studies for a 184km, $8 billion rail network. Oman will develop 500km by 2017, including a potential metro system in Muscat, the capital.

Kuwait City expects to have 171km of rail online by 2017, and Yemen will build a coastal railroad that will cost up to $3.5 billion.

:: Gulf in the Media

More on public transportation in the Middle East:

Public transportation takes flight in Dubai

Keeping public trains on track

Why 60% of Iranians are overweight

image via siddhu2020

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