The consortium working on the 15km Dubai Metro rail link that extends from the Red Line’s Nakheel Harbour & Tower Station to the Expo 2020 venue has started the tunnelling works.

The tunnel starts at the Discovery Gardens and will extend 3.2km to the Green Community. Its depth would range from 12.5 metres to 36 metres, the Dubai Media Office said in a statement on 24 October.

The tunnelling work will be undertaken using a 103-metre tunnel boring machine (TBM), called Al-Wugeisha Expo 2020.

The TBM is expected to cross the underground station near Jumeirah Golf Estates in January next year. All tunnel drilling works are to be completed by December 2018.

Dubai’s Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) awarded the AED10.6bn ($2.89bn) contract to design and build the rail link to a consortium of Spain’s Acciona, Turkey’s Gulermak and France’s Alstom in October last year.

MEED understands the new rolling stock is expected to arrive in July 2018. France’s Alstom will supply 50 trains; 15 of these will serve the Expo 2020 route, while the rest will serve the existing Dubai Metro lines.

According to the RTA, construction works for the viaducts will be completed in November next year while all railway works are expected to be completed in July 2019.

The trial run of the metro link is expected to commence in February 2020, eight months prior to the opening of the Expo 2020 in Dubai.