A contract award for a study into a possible rail link between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is due to be awarded in November.

Speaking at MEED’s Mena Rail & Metro Summit in Abu Dhabi on 29 October, Ramiz al-Assar, senior adviser to the GCC Secretariat General – World Bank, confirmed that bids from consultants are currently under evaluation and an award will be announced in the coming weeks.

The line will run parallel to the existing King Fahd causeway and will eventually feed into the wider 2,177-kilometre GCC rail network, which is expected to connect all of the GCC states by 2018.

The Saudi-Bahrain rail scheme is being led by the King Fahd Causeway Authority in coordination with the Bahrain Transport Ministry. Three other government entities are also part of the project committee. These are Bahrain’s Finance Ministry and the Saudi transport and finance ministries.

Initial plans envisaged that the rail link would be 90km long and cost about $5bn. It is expected to help alleviate traffic on the King Fahd causeway.