Each country involved in the $25bn GCC railway network will be responsible for the construction of its own part of the line, according to an executive advising the GCC secretariat on the project.

The comments appear to end speculation that a single contractor or consortium could be appointed to construct the entire project.

That speculation had gathered momentum when GCC assistant secretary general for economic affairs, Mohammed Bin Obeid Al-Mazroui, said in early January that up to five consortiums would be shortlisted [for what?], with tenders to be issued in the first quarter of the year.

However, the executive has since told MEED that the each country will appoint its own contractors. He adds that the UAE and Oman are currently ahead of the other countries in their plans, but it is not yet clear when the first construction tenders will be issued.

“Designs are yet to be finalised because there has only been a feasibility study approved by the GCC,” he says.

He adds that a feasibility study on whether to incorporate Yemen into the GCC railway network is also still being carried out.

According to the current plan for the network, the railway is expected to cover 2,117 kilometres, running from Kuwait, along the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia via Bahrain and Qatar, and on to the UAE and Oman.