Etihad Rail, the developer and operator of the UAE’s national railway, has shortlisted three companies or consortiums for the project management consultancy (PMC) contract for phase 2 of the project.

According to a source, the companies in the running for the contract are US firms Bechtel, a joint venture between Parsons and Aecom, and Fluor. It is not known when a final decision will be made.

Phase 1 of the Etihad Rail network connects the gas fields in Shah and Habshan to the port of Ruwais and is already under construction. The Habshan-Ruwais line is due to be operational by the end of this year, while the other section of the line will be completed in 2014. The Parsons Aecom joint venture is the project management consultant on this phase.

Phase 2 will involve building lines connecting the rest of the Abu Dhabi network, with a line running from the border with Saudi Arabia at Ghweifat, along the coast via Mussafah to the outskirts of Abu Dhabi city. From there, a track will connect Al-Ain, while the main line will continue up the coast to Dubai, passing Khalifa port and Dubai’s Jebel Ali port.

The construction contracts for phase 2 were divided up into a number of packages covering different sections of the line. A total of five packages, including four design and build contracts and one systems contract, have been tendered and are currently under assessment.

Early work on phase 3 has also begun. This section will link up the Northern Emirates, serving industrial areas and quarries in the Hajar mountains.