• Bahrain considers extensive rail network, to be operational in 2022
  • Phase two feasibility study for Bahrain-Saudi Arabia causeway expected to be completed this year
  • Upgrade to bus network planned to be operational in August

Bahrain is considering a light rail network for the country, with a feasibility study due to begin this year.

Tentative plans include 22 kilometres of elevated double track, with 19 stations and an initial capacity to handle 8,000 passengers. There will be built-in flexibility to allow for expansion. If the project for the light rail system moves ahead, the plans call for it to be completed in 2022.

“Detailed feasibility preliminary design is to commence later this year,” said Maryam Jaman, undersecretary at the Transport Ministry, speaking at the MEED Bahrain Infrastructure & Finance Conference on 28 April.

Jaman said Bahrain is now prioritising efforts to improve and expand the public transport system, increase the efficiency of the road network and build regional and international connectivity.

She added that the feasibility study into the second Bahrain-Saudi Arabia causeway should be completed by the middle of this year and that the kingdom’s new bus system will be fully operational in August.

A new network operator took over the bus system in February and operations started on 1 April. A system comprising 141 buses will provide services to 77 per cent of the population and should be fully operational in August, Jaman said. Work has started to increase the number of bus stops to 900 from 400 at present.

“We have a vision to develop park-and-ride services, new bus terminals and bus rapid transit routes,” Jaman said.

The plan to build a new causeway between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia calls for the project to be developed in phases.

“Phase one will comprise a 20km causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, including a station and a freight yard on reclaimed land to the northwest of Muharraq,” said Jaman.

The feasibility study will examine two possible alignments and whether the causeway will be for rail only or will also have a road. It is to be called the King Hamad Causeway.

Jaman said the landing point for the GCC railway is planned to have a multi-modal freight handling area that will be integrated with the bus network and the urban transport system. She said that whether there will be an extension of the railway into Bahrain has yet to be decided. No final decision has been made on whether the second causeway will be procured by the King Fahd Causeway Authority or a new body.

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