Local/Australian Al-Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) has formed a joint venture with Australia’s John Holland to create Advance Rail Group.

The new Abu Dhabi-based venture will pursue $75bn worth of rail opportunities in the GCC up to 2020.

“This exciting new venture will put us at the forefront of rail design, construction, maintenance and operations in the region,” says Laurie Voyer, chief executive and managing director of HLG. “Our initial focus will be in regional rail in Abu Dhabi and the metro system in Doha.”

The GCC is currently home to a number of rail projects including national rail schemes under way in each of the six states and metro systems planned for Doha, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

Al-Habtoor Leighton Group and John Holland will officially launch the joint venture at MEED’s MENA Rail Projects 2010, which begins on 28 September in Abu Dhabi.