• Bahrain will make a decision on the King Fahd Rail Causeway, when the feasibility study is complete, before the end of 2015
  • The Ministry of Transportation & Telecommunications is to tender a study on an elevated light rail system
  • Integrated supply chain management for GCC rail called for

Bahrain is carrying out feasibility studies on the King Fahd Causeway with Saudi Arabia, and both countries will make a decision on the project before the end of 2015, according to Mariam Jumaan, undersecretary for land transportation and post at Bahrain’s Ministry of Transportation & Telecommunications.

The ministry is also preparing to tender a consultancy contract to revisit old studies on an elevated light rail system for the kingdom.

The King Fahd Causeway will extend around 20 kilometres over the sea, and may be a rail, or a road and rail project.

It will be the first phase of Bahrain’s GCC rail project. The second phase would connect to Bahrain’s port and a planned but on hold causeway to Qatar.

The light rail would connect to the GCC rail and support a bus system, which was launched in August. Elevated light rail is thought to be the most suitable option, given Bahrain’s small size and the difficulty of obtaining right of way.

Jumaan also called for a shared list of approved contractors across the GCC to work on all rail projects, as well as integrated supply chain management.

“Each country, regardless of its size, needs all components of the rail industry to manage and service all its requirements,” says Jumaan. “We need a GCC-wide strategy to build capacity, but there have been no studies yet.”

She estimates that the planned rail projects in the GCC, worth up to $200bn, will require 21km of rail, 40 million sleepers, 22m cubic metres of ballast, 150 million clips, pads and nylons, as well as 80,000 trained staff.

“If we do not proactively manage the supply chain and make sure resources available, we will be competing for the same resources, skills, consultants at same time,” says Jumaan. “Competing for these limited resources will inflate costs.”

She also recommends setting up manufacturing and training centres strategically to supply the whole GCC from specialised centres.