The GCC Secretariat is considering forming a single committee to regulate the entire GCC railway network when it is complete.

Mohammed bin Obeid Al-Mazroui, GCC assistant secretary general for economic affairs, says the secretariat is now discussing whether to form one authority to regulate the entire railway or to form committees in each member state to manage each section of the network.

The discussions will continue over the next few months as the secretariat looks at the technical and financial elements of the project.

Al-Mazroui says that, whether there is one or more regulator, the aim will be to ensure common standards across the network.

Construction work on the 2,117 kilometre network could start in 2011, once the tendering process is complete.

 “Construction could start, if we finish the tendering documents and the legal requirements and planning, next year,” he says.

Tenders are due to be issued in April 2010. Companies interested in competing for the work will be able to bid individually or in consortiums.

“If the companies want to do a consortium and put their bids together, it is up to them,” he says.

Some countries, such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have already started implementing their own domestic rail projects which will form part of the larger GCC rail network.

The railway is expected to be operational by 2017 if there is no delay, says Al-Mazroui.