Bids have been submitted for the consultancy services covering Qatar’s planned long-distance freight and high-speed passenger rail lines.

Bids are currently being evaluated, but no firm timetable for the award of the contract has been set out. It is unlikely to be awarded before the end of this year, says a source.

The request for proposals (RFP) was issued at the end of 2012, with the deadline originally set for 24 February before being extended.

The RFP covers consultancy services, including detailed design, civil infrastructure and mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) works.

Early plans for the two rail lines see the project divided into three phases. The first phase will involve a 195-kilometre freight line linking Port Mesaieed to Ras Laffan, eventually linking to Saudi Arabia through the planned GCC-wide network.

Phase two involves the construction of the 150km high-speed connection to Bahrain. Phase three will see the construction of 165km passenger and freight national network linking Dukhan to Al-Shamal and Doha City.

The overland rail line forms part of Qatar Rail’s (QRail’s) integrated rail plan, which includes the construction of the Doha metro and a light rail system.

With Qatar’s hosting of the Fifa World Cup football tournament in 2022 looming, QRail has prioritised the metro project, and has selected the contractors for the scheme’s first major construction packages.

It has also tendered three further contracts covering elevated and at-grade sections of the metro network.