The GCC railway will have to create its own standards to ensure that the new rail network is the best possible system serving the region.

“The GCC railway is different and the GCC environment is different, so we had to come up with our own standards,” said Ramiz al-Assar, World Bank – resident adviser, Gulf Cooperation Council – Secretariat General, speaking at MEED’s Mena Rail & Metro Summit in Abu Dhabi on 29 October. “It has full commitment from the heads of states. ”We have to ensure that anything we adapt is applicable to our railway.”

The infrastructure for the GCC railway is expected to cost $15.6bn and will connect all six member states. Construction work on parts of the network has started in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Completion is expected in 2018.