Kuwait is inviting consultants to express interest in its planned metropolitan railway project by 22 November.

The Partnerships Technical Bureau (PTB), which was set up by emiri decree in 2008 to carry out the country’s public-private partnership programme, will manage the Kuwait Metropolitan Rapid Transit project.

In January, MEED reported that the $7bn scheme will involve construction of a 171-kilometre-long inner-city metro with four lines running across Kuwait City. About 60km of the network will be underground (MEED 18:1:09).

Kuwait’s Communications Ministry came up with the idea for the metro in 2005 and appointed the Kuwait Overland Transport Union, a consortium of local companies, to develop the project.

Spanish transport consultant Ingenieria & Consultoria de Transporte (Ineco) and project management firm Kuwait United Development completed a feasibility study for the scheme in May 2008.

The winning consultant will verify the feasibility of the project and carry out due diligence. It will also act as the adviser, overseeing the tendering process.

The PTB has yet to say whether it will tender the contract to build the metro as one or more packages.

The successful developer will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the metro network for an undisclosed period. The developer will own 40 per cent of the project company, the government will own 10 per cent and the state will sell the remaining 50 per cent in an initial public offering.

The government also plans to invite expressions of interest for an adviser to oversee the tendering of the construction awards for the project to build a 505-kilo-metre-long, $7bn nationwide rail network in 2010.

The network will form part of the planned GCC rail network.

MEED reported in January that Kuwait Municipality had appointed a consortium, led by the UK’s Atkins and including the US’ Parsons Brinckerhoff and local firm Gulf Consult, to create a masterplan for both the nationwide network and the metro.

According to one senior civil servant close to the project, the municipality will approve the masterplan by the end of this year.