Qatar Railways Company (QRail) says that, so far, more than 280 individual companies have requested the expressions of interest (EoI) documents to carry out the civil works on the Doha metro project.

Companies have until 25 September to submit EoIs. QRail aims to invite prequalified companies to bid for the deal early in 2012 with the contract scheduled to be awarded in July.

The Doha metro is just one component of the $35bn Qatar Integrated Rail Project (QIRP)

The main focus of the QIRP is on passenger transportation. It will not only create a new industry to support the economy but will also establish a high quality integrated network, reduce congestion and accidents and create jobs.

One challenge will be persuading people to leave their cars and use rail network, says Geoff Mee, deputy chief executive officer of Qatar Railways Company during MEED’s Mena Rail Projects 2011 conference.

“Building a railway is a milestone on the way to building an integrated railway network,” says Mee.

QRail still has two project management construction management (PMCM) contracts to awards for the Red line of Doha metro and another for major stations.

A PMCM award will also be announced in the next few weeks for the West Bay people-mover.