Plans to form a GCC Railway Authority to oversee the creation of a regional railway network have been approved, according to Ramiz al-Assar, World Bank resident adviser, Gulf Cooperation Council secretariat-general.
Speaking at MEEDs Rail & Metro Summit in Abu Dhabi, Al-Assar said approval was given in October. Consultancy firms will be invited to bid for a study into setting up the authority in the first quarter of 2014.
Plans to form a region-wide railway began in 2009 when an initial feasibility study was conducted.
The project is estimated to cost at least $15.5bn and will cover approximately 2,177 kilometres of railway connecting all six GCC states.
Work on the detailed design and engineering work has begun and is due to be completed by the end of 2013 or early 2014. Al-Assar told delegates construction is expected to begin by 2015, with the aim of the rail network being operational by 2018.
More from the MEED Rail & Metro Summit
- GCC to work with foreign partners for local manufacturing
- Award expected in November for Bahrain-Saudi rail link
- GCC railway needs its own standards
- GCC railway targets 2018 completion date
- Cairo metro to complete phase 2 of third line next year
- First Al-Sufouh trams to arrive in Dubai at end of year
- Jeddah metro readies for pre-project management contract tender
- Tehran expects to complete third metro line in 2015
- Kurdistans Suleimaniyah light rail project to tender in 2014
- Length of Middle East rail networks set to double
- Local talent needed for regional railway sector