• Bahrain is preparing to tender a consultancy study for its proposed light rail
  • Elevated light rail could be best option due to limited land available
  • A separate feasibility study on expanding the King Fahd Causeway will be completed soon

Bahrain is preparing to invite bids before the end of 2015 for the initial work on its proposed light rail network and how it will connect with the GCC railway, the MEED MENA Rail & Metro Summit was told this morning.

“The next phase is to connect the GCC railway with (Bahrain’s) public transport network,” Bahrain’s Deputy Minister for land and post Mariam Jumaan said. “We are looking at the possibility of light rail and we are going out to tender for consultancy for this project.”

Jumaan said that that this will involve reviewing earlier studies about possible public transport modes in Bahrain. She said that neither a metro nor a tram system would work in Bahrain which has limited available land. Jumaan said that an elevated light rail network is possible. This could be monorail, she said.

Jumaan said that the feasibility study into options for expanding the King Fahd Causeway between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain commissioned from Canada’s SNC Lavalin will soon be completed. It will include recommendations about whether an expansion of the causeway should include the construction of a road-only link or one that supports both road and railway traffic. She said that once this has happened, construction of the causeway expansion can proceed.

Almost 27,000 cars a day used the causeway in 2014 compared with under 24,000 in 2013.

Almohaisen said plans call for the private sector to be involved in the operation of the new causeway.

Jumaan called for action to promote an integrated GCC supply chain.

“The GCC is enjoying a railway boom,” Jumaan said. “Railway projects are a catalyst for growth…A study looking at an overall railway programme for the region… would be useful at this point of time.”